Air France jet crash's cockpit voice recorder found
Members of the Brazilian Navy search for debris and victims from Air France flight 447.
May 3rd, 2011
06:15 AM ET

Air France jet crash's cockpit voice recorder found

[Updated at 6:23 a.m.] The cockpit voice recorder from an Air France plane that crashed mysteriously nearly two years ago, killing all 228 people on board, has been found, the head of the company announced Tuesday.

The announcement came "only hours" after the recovery of the flight data recorder's memory unit, Air France chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said, citing the official French air accident investigation agency, the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA).

He called it "another decisive step forward in the inquiry" into the cause of the crash, which remains unknown nearly two years after it happened.

Air France flight 447 crashed in stormy weather en route to Paris from Brazil on June 1, 2009. It took nearly two years and a massive undersea search to locate the bulk of the wreckage deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

Only about 50 bodies were ever found, but investigators announced last month that the fuselage still contained human remains.

The discovery of the two data recorders may finally explain why the Airbus A330 dropped out of the sky and bellyflopped into the ocean, falling so quickly that air masks did not have time to deploy.

The cockpit voice recorder was brought to the surface by the Remora 6000, the same remote-controlled submarine that brought the flight data recorder memory unit up from the Atlantic on Sunday, the BEA said.

The finds come more than three weeks after search teams found the tail section of the Airbus A330.

Air France, in a written statement Sunday, called the first discovery "very significant."

But a British aviation consultant said he is skeptical about how useful the memory unit will be to investigators, considering it has been sitting between 2,000 to 4,000 meters (6,562 to 13,124 feet) below the ocean's surface for 23 months.

"If you were to throw a computer into the ocean, imagine how all the parts would eventually split and you have the corrosive effects of seawater and the depths involved," Phil Seymour, chief operating officer of the International Bureau of Aviation, said last week.

"It may be that the more wreckage they find will help them to piece it all together, which bit by bit could help them build a picture of what caused the plane to come down," Seymour said.

Martine Del Bono, a spokeswoman for the Paris-based BEA, says there is a good chance the memory unit, which records any instructions sent to the aircraft's electronic systems, will still hold retrievable data.

The Airbus A330's pilots lost contact with air traffic controllers while flying across an area of the Atlantic Ocean known for constant bands of severe turbulence, officials said.

Several other planes passed through the area safely at about the same time AF447 crashed.

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Filed under: Missing plane • Travel
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. countryboy

    Interesting bye now!

    May 3, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey

    Any information recovered by Air France will be useful for future airline safety.
    The gravy I want is evidence of another Gadhafi-sanctioned device or tampering.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    I wonder if the French government keeps the contents of recovered flight recorders secret "for reasons of national security"? Anyone? Has the French gov ever done this?

    May 3, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. nur amabo nur

    The record still stands ! The only black boxes never found were the ones from 9/11. Fingernails and bone fragments were found and used to Id victims but those black boxes that are specifically designed to survive a plane crash evaporated without a trace. Miraculous ! I think not. Really, 2-4000 meters deep and they find the black box, yet all they found after 9/11 were a bunch of pristine passports with the terrorists names.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Good morning nur amabo nur. You noticed that too eh? Odd how most of US have no clue about these things. (shrug)

    May 3, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • shane

      youre a retard

      May 8, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    I agree that finding the black boxes would help every nation improve airline safety. Hopefully, they can retrieve information that can do so.

    May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. nur amabo nur

    Good mornin to you too Phil. Nope I didn't notice anything... Hey is dancing w/the stars on tonight ?

    May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Weitko

    @nur amabo nur & Phil, there is a posting on youtube you may be interested in watching. It's called "Loose Change".

    May 3, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. alex

    This is a success for the french government and for the future of aviation safety. We will finally understand why AF 447 crashed. I really congratulate those responsible of the mission to recuperate those recorders. It´s an amazing feat which certainly must have taken took lots of work and dedication.

    May 3, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ed

    Wouldn't one assume that most major accidents would occur either over the ocean or have some fierce fire associated with it? Why wouldn't the boxes be able to handle salt water for 23 months, thats obsurd?

    May 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MGrant

    I'm so glad they have found these. I've worried about it/them forever.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ed Bailey

    My thoughts have always drifted towards malicious activity. No communication from the crew, the air mask detail if true ( how did that get determined) is not an easy one except extremely fast failure of several critical parameters. A true mystery that had a quick ending.any structural/mechanical failure would be shocking WITHOUT human complications!

    May 3, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. my thoughts on this

    Are who cares?! old news drop it move on

    May 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @nur amabo nur...I hear ya. .@Weitco....seen it. thanx. .@banasy...hard to improve airline safety when the gov refuses to let US see the black boxes or tell US that they were "somehow" destroyed in a fire.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |