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Air France 477: BEA Probe Indicates Pilots Could Have Saved Plane

Two years after the Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, French air safety officers have released a third intermediate accident report on the fatal accident.

The French Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) report gives an insight into the final moments before the crash and determines that the reason for the Airbus A330 accident was a combination of confusion, malfunction, and bad weather.

Nevertheless, the BEA finds that ultimately the situation was “salvageable.”

The crash occurred when the plane experienced an imminent aerodynamic stall in high altitude, which is when the wings of an aircraft can no longer support it.

The BEA report goes on to specify that certain malfunctioning of equipment such as ice on the pilot probes, roll movements, and loss of associated piloting control protections made it difficult for the pilots to analyze the situation.

The aircraft lost wing support in a sudden thunder storm while the 52-year-old captain was on a rest period.

The two co-pilots, in charge of the aircraft during the moments before its fatal crash, alarmingly were not trained properly to deal with the high altitude emergency, which led to a stalling of the plane that could not be recovered.

The report also indicated that the pilots ignored warning signs and failed to follow basic safety procedures. Passengers had no warning of the abnormal situation before the crash.

Originally, it was difficult to ascertain what exactly caused the fatal crash until a submarine had stumbled upon the aircraft's black boxes last May.

Air France released a statement on Friday responding to the report stating, "At this stage, there is no reason to question the crew's technical skill."

The statement pointed to a combination of factors, mainly focusing on the malfunctioning of equipment that ultimately led the plane to crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

However, many news sources have been quick to lay blame on pilot error arguing that the lack of experience and diligent training is the primary reason behind the crash.

Both Airbus and Air France face manslaughter charges for the disaster and the BEA has made several recommendations based on the findings including a call for increased training for pilots in high-altitude stalling and manual aircraft handling.

Air France flight 477 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean four hours into the flight on June 1, 2009. It crashed while it was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris and 216 passengers as well as 12 crew members lost their lives in the fatal crash.

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