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Tuesday 28 February 2017

Air France launches probe after near miss with Mount Cameroon

Tim Hepher

Mount Cameroon is the highest mountain in central Africa
Mount Cameroon is the highest mountain in central Africa

French investigators have opened a probe after an Air France jet with some three dozen people on board narrowly avoided hitting the highest mountain in central Africa in early May.

The Boeing 777 jet was making a short trip from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to Cameroon's largest city of Douala, where it was due to pick up more passengers en route to Paris, when it ran into bad weather on May 2.

While cruising at about 9,000 feet, the pilots of Flight 953 diverted northwards to avoid storm clouds, but their route back towards Douala took the passenger jet towards the 13,000-foot Mount Cameroun, the BEA and the airline said.

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That triggered an emergency warning from an automated ground-proximity warning system urging the crew to "pull up," the BEA said in a regular update of new investigations.

The crew climbed to about 13,000 feet and continued to Douala, where it landed after a flight that lasted 44 minutes.

Air France said the crew of Flight 953 had reacted in accordance with their training and the plane's manuals.

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Pending the result's of the airline's own internal investigation, they are receiving "pedagogical, managerial and medical support," a spokesman said by email.

The airline said it had also more information to all crews about the landscape around the coastal city of Douala.

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