French: No sign of problem with Air France jet
Wednesday 03 June 2009
A French accident investigator said today there were no signs of problems with Air France Flight 447 before takeoff and it was unclear whether the chief pilot was at the controls when the plane plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
The head of France's accident investigation agency, Paul-Louis Arslanian, also said he was "not optimistic" that rescuers will recover the plane's black boxes, believed to be on rugged terrain miles under the sea.
The plane, carrying 228 people, lost contact with ground controllers after leaving Rio de Janeiro for Paris on Sunday night. The crew made no distress call before the crash, but the plane's system sent an automatic message just before it disappeared, reporting lost cabin pressure and electrical failure.
The reason for the crash remained unclear, with fierce thunderstorms, lightning or a catastrophic combination of causes as possible theories.
Arslanian told a news conference at Le Bourget airport north of Paris that investigators were studying the plane's maintenance and other records, and that there were "no elements" suggesting the plane had problems before takeoff.
He stressed the investigation was only beginning and was likely to last long. He said investigators didn't have enough information to determine whether the plane broke up in the air or upon impact with the sea.
"We don't even know the exact time of the accident," he said.
Asked whether the chief pilot was in the cockpit when the plane went down, Arslanian said, "We don't have for the time being the answer." Pilots on long-haul flights often take turns at the controls to remain alert.
"Until the last minute we all hoped it was just a normal loss of contact. It's very difficult to accept such a disaster," he said.
Military planes and ships from Brazil and France homed in today on the bobbing wreckage of the Air France jet, 400 miles northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast, where an airplane seat, a fuel slick and pieces of white debris were spotted a day earlier.
Rescue boats from several nations were sailing toward the site to start the recovery.
Arslanian said if rescuers don't find the black boxes, investigators should be prepared to continue the probe without them.
The man in charge of the investigation, Alain Bouillard, led the probe into the 2000 crash of the Concorde supersonic jet. He said today the accident investigation agency, known by its French acronym BEA, would submit its first preliminary report by the end of June.
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of Orlando Bloom crying after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Kelsey Grammer forgives the man who raped and murdered his sister in 1975
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...