Air France plane crash investigators' report due

Report may blame both human error and technical malfunction for disaster that killed all 228 people on Rio to Paris flight

French investigators are to release their final report into what caused the crash of a Rio de Janeiro to Paris Air France flight which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff in June 2009, killing everyone on board.

It is understood the report may blame both human error and technical malfunction. The Airbus A330 carrying 228 people mysteriously vanished off radars at night during a storm on 1 June 2009.

Months later recovery teams pulled up a few bodies lying at a 4,000-metre depth at the bottom of the ocean. Some were still strapped into seats. Black boxes were later recovered after a search that took almost two years.

In a preliminary report into the crash last July, pilots were said to have failed to react correctly when the Airbus jet stalled and lost altitude after speed sensors froze up and failed.

The pilots flying the plane could have saved it after it temporarily lost its speed readings, instead, they did the opposite of what was required, concluded France's air investigation authority the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), pulling the aircraft up to a height at which it stalled and fell from the sky at 3,000 metres per minute.

Air France defended its pilots, saying their alert system had failed. There has been a dispute between the airline and the manufacturers of the Airbus jet over who is to blame.

A separate judicial report, due to be presented to victims' families next week, is likely to conclude that both pilot error and malfunctioning speed sensors were responsible, Agence France-Presse reported.

Both Air France and Airbus are being investigated for alleged manslaughter in connection with the crash.


Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

The GuardianTramp

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