The latest Air France crash update is, sadly, rather bleak, for according to the Guardian and many other news outlets, most of the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 – including the black boxes – may be up to 14,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Investigators say that it is unlikely that the black boxes will be recovered.
According to the Guardian, Brazilian search planes on Tuesday spotted multiple pieces of wreckage from the Air France crash, including a buoy, a seat and a tank. French officials, however, continue to assert that there is absolutely no chance of finding any of the 228 passengers who were on board Air France Flight 447 alive.
This is not to say, however, that data from airplane crashes have never been recovered in deep waters.
For instance, most of the wreckage was recovered from TWA Flight 800, which crashed off Long Island back in 1996, but the Boeing 747 only sank to a depth of about 120 feet.
As previously mentioned, it is rare to recover data from airplanes that have sunk to very deep depths – as in the case of Air France Flight 447.
One exception, though, is the case of South African Airways Flight 295. In 1987, the 747 plunged about 16,000 feet into the Indian Ocean off the island of Mauritius. The South African military searched unsuccessfully for the wreckage for two months, but the U.S. Navy stepped in to help and ended up discovering the wreckage and the cockpit voice recorder. Subsequently, the accident was determined to be caused by cargo that caught fire.
When news of the missing Air France Flight 447 first hit the headlines, it seemed as though the plane had mysteriously vanished into thin air.
But now, sadly, we know that Air France Flight 447, which was en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
It is the worst aviation disaster since American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into a residential area of Queens, New York on November 12, 2001.
What caused Air France Flight 447 to crash? Some of the possible reasons being discussed by experts include lightening, mechanical failure or even terrorism.
But in order to make a final determination as to what caused Air France Flight 447 to crash into the Atlantic, the black boxes must be recovered.
Meanwhile, a memorial service has been scheduled for the 228 victims today at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Air France crash jet’s black boxes may never be recovered from the Atlantic, The Guardian, June 3, 2009
TWA Flight 800, Wikipedia.org
South African Airways Flight 295, Wikipedia.org