Air France Crash Investigators Said to Plan Resuming Search

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Air France Crash Investigators Said to Plan Resuming Search

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Nov 26, 2010

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-2 ... earch.html

Air France Atlantic Crash Investigators Are Said to Plan Resuming Search
By Laurence Frost and Andrea Rothman
Nov 25, 2010

New Transport Minister Thierry Mariani will meet BEA officials in coming weeks. Photographer: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
Air France Crash Investigators Said to Plan New Search

A technician works on the Remote Operate Vehicle room in the sea search operations to find the black boxes of Air France flight 447. Photographer: Evaristo SA/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators probing last year’s Air France plane crash off the coast of Brazil are planning a new hunt for the missing wreckage and black-box flight recorders, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

France’s BEA air accident investigation bureau is seeking approval from new Transport Minister Thierry Mariani for a fourth undersea search before preparing a final report on the loss of Air France Flight 447, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plan hasn’t been made public.

The investigators have already spent about 30 million euros ($40 million) on the three earlier searches for the Airbus SAS A330, which crashed into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 people aboard.

While interim findings suggested that unreliable airspeed- sensor data triggered a series of system failures, the BEA has said that the chain of events may never be properly explained unless the cockpit voice and data recorders are found.

Mariani, who replaced Dominique Bussereau in a government reshuffle this month, will meet BEA officials in coming weeks, a transport ministry spokeswoman said by telephone. BEA spokesman Alain Guilldou said it was too early to comment on the prospect of a new search.

In the weeks following the crash, a French nuclear submarine and U.S. Navy sonar scanned a circular area of about 6,700 square miles for the acoustic pings emitted by the black boxes, for as long as their batteries were expected to last.

Second and third search operations, which ended in May, used sonar imaging equipment mounted on submarines and boats to scour several smaller areas plotted from the location of floating debris and data on ocean currents.

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath and Air France spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand declined to comment.

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