The search for signals from flight recorders on the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic ocean last month was to end Friday, investigators have said. A second phase of searches using a different method is supposed to begin next week.
AFP - The search for signals from flight recorders on the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic ocean last month with 228 people on board was set to end Friday, investigators said.
French submarines will continue to search for the recorders but will no longer monitor for their remote signals, said a spokeswoman for the French bureau leading the crash investigation, the BEA.
The Airbus 330 crashed in a storm on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris overnight 40 days ago with the loss of all on board, scattering debris and likely plunging the two recorders as deep as 3,500 metres under water.
The so-called "black boxes" -- actually clad in orange metal casing to protect and make them visible -- are designed to emit a signal for at least 30 days after a crash and investigators estimated this could last until Friday.
"A second phase of the search will begin after July 14 (a public holiday in France)... by another method," for a month, Alain Bouillard, head of the BEA investigation, said last week.
A boat from the French marine institute Ifremer, equipped with two small submarines, will continue the search along with another submarine and a robot craft.
Air France-KLM director Pierre-Henri Gourgeon insisted that "all hope is not lost," in comments published on Thursday in the French daily Le Figaro.
One of the devices records flight data and the other captures the voices of the crew and other sounds in the cockpit.
Brazil's military called off the search for bodies and debris from the Air France jet, flight AF447, late last month.
An Air France pilots' union accused French and European air safety bodies of failing to prevent the crash by ignoring warnings about faulty speed probes, in a letter published Wednesday.
Speculation has focussed on the speed sensors which fed inconsistent readings to the cockpit just before the plane went down, according to information received by controllers at the time of the crash.
Investigators said the sensors were a "factor" in the accident, if not the cause.
Date created : 2009-07-10