Wednesday 22 November 2017

Black box from Air France crash is recovered

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

INVESTIGATORS have located one of two black boxes from a plane which crashed almost two years ago killing all onboard, including three Irish women.

The flight data recorder from Air France flight 447, which went down off the coast of Brazil in 2009, was pulled on to the deck of a search ship yesterday.

It is hoped that the remarkable deep-sea recovery will explain why the aircraft crashed in a remote area of the mid-Atlantic, killing all 228 people on board.

Three Irish doctors, Eithne Walls (28), from Ballygowan, Co Down; Jane Deasy (27), from Rathgar, Co Dublin; and Aisling Butler (26), from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, lost their lives in the crash.

Only the body of Dr Deasy has been recovered to date.

France's air accident investigation agency BEA said a search by a submarine probing some 3,900 metres below the ocean's surface located and recovered the unit yesterday morning.

The unit is now aboard the ship Ile de Sein, the statement said. It also included photos of the recorder -- a red cylinder partially buried in sand on the sea floor. The unit appeared to be in good condition.


Last month, the agency said the undersea search had identified the 'chassis' that had held the recorder, but said the memory unit was still missing.

The flight data recorder stores data from the flight.

Another so-called 'black box' records cockpit conversations.

Investigators hope yesterday's remarkable discovery will allow them to determine what caused the June 1, 2009, crash of the flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to the French capital, Paris.

The aircraft slammed into the Atlantic north-east of Brazil after running into an intense high-altitude thunderstorm.

Automatic messages sent by the Airbus 330's computers showed it was receiving false air speed readings from sensors known as pitot tubes.

Investigators have said the crash was likely caused by a series of problems, and not just sensor error.

The crash site was so remote and in such a deep area of the Atlantic that the bulk of the wreckage was only recently discovered, thanks to a deep-sea search.

Experts have said that without retrieving the voice and data recorders there would be almost no chance of determining what caused the crash -- the worst disaster in Air France's history.

Irish Independent

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