• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Air France crash: final report due for release

AFP · 5 Jul 2012, 09:54

Published: 05 Jul 2012 09:54 GMT+02:00

French investigators will release on Thursday a final report into what caused the mid-Atlantic crash of a Rio to Paris Air France flight that killed 228 people in 2009.

It may blame a combination of human error and technical malfunction. This was the finding of a preliminary report and also, according to a source, of a separate judicial enquiry to be released next week.

The report to be published Thursday by the French aviation safety authority BEA is eagerly awaited amid a bitter row between Airbus and Air France over who ultimately bears responsibility

The Airbus A330 vanished at night and during a storm on June 1, 2009. It took days before debris was located in the remote equatorial Atlantic Ocean area, and far longer until the wreckage was recovered.

The black boxes were finally located by robot submarines after a search spanning 23 months and costing about 32 million euros ($40 million).    

The BEA in a preliminary report into the crash last July said the pilots had failed to react correctly when the Airbus jet stalled and lost altitude after its speed sensors froze up and failed.

The aircraft had entered turbulence two hours into the flight when the autopilot suddenly disengaged, it said.

Shortly after, an instrument showed a sharp fall in airspeed and a stall warning sounded, indicating the plane was no longer being lifted by the air pushing under the wings.

As the two co-pilots struggled to understand the situation, the captain, who had left the cockpit to take a rest, returned but did not retake control of the plane, the BEA said last year.

Air France has insisted the pilots were not to blame, saying the stall alarm had malfunctioned.

French magistrates are investigating Air France and Airbus for alleged manslaughter in connection with the crash, notably because of the malfunctioning speed sensors, known as Pitots.

The airline replaced the Pitots, manufactured by French company Thales, on its Airbus planes with a newer model after the crash.

Story continues below…

Victims' families have previously alleged that the involvement of big French corporations such as Airbus and Air France was influencing the probe into the causes of the disaster. 

A separate judicial report – due to be presented to victims' families next Tuesday – has concluded that both pilot error and malfunctioning speed sensors were responsible, a source has told AFP.

The source said the 356-page judicial report had found that speed sensors froze up and failed, but also that the "captain had failed in his duties" and "prevented the co-pilot from reacting".

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Minister 'to quit government'... and run for French president?
President Hollande, left, and Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP

France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is set to step down on Tuesday in order to concentrate on replacing his boss at the Elysée Palace, according to reports and speculation in France.

Brexit: You've got till 2019 Hollande warns UK
Photo: AFP

For the sake of everyone the divorce needs to happen as soon as possible, says Hollande.

UN says French burqini bans 'humiliating and degrading'
Photo: AFP

... and says the ban had fuelled religious intolerance in France.

Opinion - French schools
Ten ways France must fix its 'failing' school system
What must France do to fix its school system? Photo: AFP

Longstanding issues in French school system have not been dealt with, argues journalist and author Peter Gumbel.

School holidays in France: The dates you need to know
Photo: AFP

It's not the sheer number of school holidays that have caused a row this time, but the dates. Here's all you need to know.

'Get nude or get lost': Nudists fight youths on French beach
Photo: maxwelld/Flickr

Rule number one on a French nudist beach: No staring.

France hopes to open new chapter in Muslim relations
Muslims hold up the French flag at a mosque in Strasbourg. Photo: AFP

Can the creation of a new Islamic foundation sow the seeds of more positive relations between France's Muslim population and the state?

France to demand an end to EU-US trade deal talks
Photo: AFP

French president says no free trade deal between EU and US possible before Obama leaves office as a minister says Paris wants an end to negotiations.

16 things you almost certainly didn't know about France
One of the most famous roundabouts in the land of roundabouts. Photo: Amy Anderson/Flickr

Here are 16 facts from the brand new trivia book "F is for France". Did you know any of them? Be honest now.

Burqini row
Bretons bathe fully clothed as Muslim asked to leave beach
Photo: Screen shot/Ouest France

Protesters in Brittany take to the sea fully clothed after video emerges of a veil-wearing Muslim woman being asked to leave the beach in Nice, despite France's top court ruling burqini-bans are illegal.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,752
jobs available