Air Algerie AH5017 crash: Jet fell 30,000 feet in three minutes ‘due to violent storm’
Inexperience of the Spanish crew may have also been a factor
Thursday 31 July 2014
The Air Algérie aircraft that crashed in the Sahara last week, killing 118 people, plunged 30,000 feet into the desert in three minutes after running into a violent storm, investigators believe.
The inexperience of the Spanish crew, with only a month’s flying time on the demanding cross-Sahara route, may have played a part in the accident, according to aviation experts. Although contributory factors such as mechanical failure have not yet been ruled out, studies of radar records have more or less excluded the possibility that the Spanish-owned MD-83 aircraft was the victim of a terrorist bomb or a ground-launched missile.
The head of the Burkina Faso armed forces, General Gilbert Diendéré, said that radar records of the aircraft’s course suggested that the pilot had tried to steer around the storm but had returned to his original course too soon. “It was while he was performing this manoeuvre that the accident happened,” he said.
Video: 'We will need three to five months to identify the bodies'
Gérard Feldzer, a French expert on air accidents, told Le Figaro: “It seems that the pilot reacted to the storm too late… An aircraft needs 10 to 15 kilometres to turn. If it gets too close to a storm, it can be too late to turn around. You get trapped in the air currents rushing up and down.”
The aircraft, leased to Air Algérie by the Spanish company Swiftair, crashed into a remote part of the desert in Mali last Thursday 50 minutes after leaving Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso for Algiers. Of the 118 people on board, 54 were French, including three large or extended families.
General Diendéré said that the radar records suggested that the aircraft had plummeted from 10,000m (around 30,000ft) in three minutes. It hit the ground almost intact, suggesting that it had not suffered an explosion in mid-air.
France has been helping the Malian government to fight an Islamist rebellion in northern Mali for 18 months. There were fears that the aircraft may have been struck by a ground-to-air missile like with the Malaysian airliner brought down over eastern Ukraine the previous week.
French and Malian army rescue teams have found both black-box flight recorders at the crash site.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...
competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high q...
competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...