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'What's happening?': final words on stricken flight

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09:20 CEST+02:00

A controversial new book has revealed the final words of pilots on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris which crashed off the coast of Brazil in June 2009.

Le Figaro reports that the book, Rio-Paris Crash, A Collection of Pilot Errors, reveals the full transcript of conversations between the three pilots on board flight AF447, Marc Dubois, the 58-year old captain, David Robert, 37, and Pierre-Cedric Bonin, 32. 

The book has been written by Jean-Pierre Otelli, a French aeronautical expert with a wide network of industry contacts. It details the confusion in the cockpit in the minutes running up to the crash.

The captain of the plane, Marc Dubois, was on a short break when problems began as the two co-pilots struggled to deal with a stall. 

When he came back into the cockpit one of the co-pilots told him "we don't understand. We've tried everything."

The pilots struggled to bring the plane under control without success. The final exchange had David Robert saying "go back up….go back up….go back up…" to which Bonin replied "but I've been going down at maximum level for a while."

Captain Dubois intervened with "no, no, no…..don't go up…..no, no." Bonin then said "go down then."

The final exchange had Robert saying "damn it….we're going to crash. It can't be true", to which Bonin replied, "but what's happening?" After that, the plane crashed.

The book has been condemned by the official organization investigating the crash, the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA).

Air France also condemned the book, saying it showed a "lack of respect to the memory of the crew and passengers." The airline also demanded that security be tightened to prevent further leaks.

Air France and Airbus, the plane's manufacturer, are both facing manslaughter charges over the crash.

All 228 passengers and crew on board the flight died.

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