July 5th, 2012
09:12 AM ET

Series of pilot errors contribute to Air France Flight 447 crash, officials say

[Updated at 9: 12 a.m. ET] A series of errors by pilots and a failure to react effectively to technical problems contributed to the crash of Air France Flight 447, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and killed all 228 on board, France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis said in its final report on the disaster.

[Posted at 7:56 a.m. ET] More than three years after Air France Flight 447 plunged into the southern Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard, authorities are preparing to release their final report on the fatal crash.

France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said the data indicated that the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed because the aircraft's speed sensors gave invalid readings, but there are other theories on why the plane went down.

When did Flight 447 go down?

Flight 447 - which was en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro - made its last contact with Brazil's Atlantic Control Center (ACC) at around 01:33 GMT on June 1, 2009, informing the center of the plane's position as it crossed the Atlantic.

Soon after, Brazil's air control contacted Dakar's control center in North Africa and reported that AF 447 was entering an area on its route known for constant bands of severe turbulence, officials said.

There was no further contact with the plane.

History's deadliest plane crashes

Do we know why Flight 447 crashed?

Last year's BEA report said the airplane climbed to 38,000 feet when "the stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled." It then descended, crashing into the Atlantic. The descent lasted 3 minutes and 30 seconds and the engines remained operational, said the report.

Studies of the debris and bodies that were found soon after the crash led the BEA to conclude the plane hit the water belly first, essentially intact. Oxygen masks were not deployed, indicating that the cabin did not depressurize, the BEA said in a 2009 report.

Tests have already brought into question the performance of pitot tubes, which measure the pressure exerted on the plane as it flies through the air, and are part of a system used to determine air speed.

Before it crashed, Flight 447 sent out 24 automated error messages that suggested the plane may have been flying too fast or too slow through the thunderstorms, officials have said.

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    When I say rest in peace to total strangers, I mean it...I have been made fun of by some for it, but I care not one jot; they have the problem, not I.
    I never thought that having compassion and empathy for people was a character flaw, but I guess it may be to some.
    Oh well.
    Can't please some people.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mickey1313

      Some people just want to be mean. It is unfortunate, but it is human nature.

      July 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I guess, mickey1313, but it's a trait they should try to hold at bay...it's very unattractive, and makes that person look shallow and petty...

      July 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    @might I suggest:
    You may suggest anything you want.
    I shall stick to RIP.
    Short and succinct.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. might i suggest.......sheesh

    oh, before i forget...r.i.p. to flight 447.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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