Pilots to blame for crash that buried three Irish doctors in the Atlantic
Information from black boxes throws light on why the plane crashed killing 228 people
A preliminary examination of the black boxes, from Air France flight 447, shows that there was no major technical error which could have caused the Airbus to crash. Therefore, the pilots of the airplane are being blamed for the crash which killed 228 people, including three young Irish doctors.
In June 2009 an Air France flight, travelling from Rio to Paris, plunged into the south Atlantic Ocean. Last week a Paris court ruled that those bodies which have been found, over three miles down, will not be recovered.
The Irish doctors who were killed on the flight were Jane Deasy (27), from Rathgar, County Dublin; Dr Eithne Walls (28), from Ballygowan, County Down; and Dr Aisling Butler (26), from Roscrea, County Tipperary.
Investigators have also discovered that the senior pilot may have been absent when the cockpit when the plane dived into the ocean. This absence in itself is not unusual. It is standard for the captain to fly the first leg and then take his rest.
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It is believed that the accident occurred when several tropical storms lay directly in the aircraft's path. One of the mysteries surrounding the crash is why the pilot chose to flight directly into the eye of the storm when others that night steered around it.
It has also been reported that a malfunction in the speed recording equipment could have contributed to the accident. It is believed that the sensors on the device could have frozen. However, this alone would not have led to the plane going down.
According to reports Air France reacted angrily to the idea that the blame was shifting away from Airbus. Both companies have already made major settlements in court for the families of the victims.
A representative from Air France said "At the present stage of the investigation, nothing points to either the responsibility, or the freedom from blame, of either of the principal actors."
Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, director general of Air France, sent an internal mail to his staff. He said the suggestion that it was the error of the pilot which caused the crash was an attack on the "memory of our pilots". He said "I have total confidence in their professionalism."
On Monday Airbus issued a message to its customers stating that the new information gained from the black boxes was no reason to make "any new recommendations" on the safe operation of other Airbus aircraft.
The investigation is ongoing.
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