Air France jet may have turned before crash

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 00:36

Paris: An Air France jet going from Rio de
Janeiro to Paris may have turned around before it crashed last
year, killing all 228 people aboard, officials said on Monday.

The head of the French accident investigation agency said
the plane could be found by Wednesday.

Pinging signals from the plane`s flight recorders
detected in the Atlantic depths last year were analyzed last
week with the aid of new technology that helped narrow down
the search zone to what turned out to be an unexpected
location.

Lead investigator Alain Bouillard said that if the plane
is found in the zone where signals came from, then that would
suggest that it turned around after reaching the position that
it last reported to air traffic controllers.

"It`s a probable hypothesis," he said. "The question is
why?"

The head of the French accident investigation agency BEA,
Jean-Paul Troadec, said that sonar specialists from French
company Thales continued to study the data from the initial
search efforts, when the black box recorders were still
emitting pings.

Using the newly analyzed information, search efforts are
concentrated on a zone 10 kilometers by 20 kilometers, two
thirds of which has been explored.

Troadec said investigators will first try to find remains
of the plane, and then look for the black boxes, without which
the cause of the crash may never be known. Submarine drones
are scouring the area, he said.

"It`s a relief and gives us hope in the search for
truth," said Robert Soulas, who lost his daughter and
son-in-law on Flight 447 and is part of an association that
represents victims` family members.

But both Troadec and Soulas said they were being
"prudent" and not jumping to any conclusions.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 00:36

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