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Air Algérie crash caused by 'series of errors'

AFP file photo I Debris from Air Algerie Flight AH5017, which crashed in Mali on July 24, 2014

A French judicial probe has found a series of "tragic" errors caused an Air Algérie plane to crash in the Malian desert last year with 116 people on board, Le Figaro reported Thursday.

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Two judges investigating the crash, which included 54 French nationals among the dead, found the "failure to activate the anti-icing system" was the main cause of the crash, the French daily reported on its website.

This led to sensors on the engines becoming clogged with ice and reporting back false data to the pilots. As such, when the engine began to lose thrust, the pilots were unaware.

The airplane’s speed fell to dangerous levels and eventually led to it going into a stall, the probe found.

The situation would have been compounded when the pilot attempted to regain altitude by pulling back on the joystick, Le Figaro added.

This part of the judges’ findings confirmed what French civil aviation authority BEA had said after its investigation into the crash of the McDonnell Douglas 83, in a report published in April.

But the judicial probe also found several other factors contributed to the crash of Flight AH5017 in Mali, just half an hour into its journey from Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou to Algiers.

The flight simulator system used to train the crew was not exactly the same as the actual plane, while the pilots were not experienced at flying in Africa's specific meteorological conditions, the newspaper added, citing the judicial probe.

In fact the pilots had only one African flight under their belts, also on the Ouagadougou to Algiers route, the probe found.

The crew also had outdated information on the weather conditions on the route they were flying, having received their last update two-and-a-half-hours before takeoff, while the plane’s all-Spanish crew had trouble communicating with ground staff, Le Figaro said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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