Investigators announce new search for clues to Air France disaster

A new search in the Atlantic for the wreckage of the Air France Airbus that crashed mysteriously nine months ago was announced today.

Flight 447 disappeared en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with the loss of 228 passengers and crew.

A huge search operation immediately afterwards found some remains, but crucially none of the black box flight recorders that could provide vital information over the cause of the crash.

The new €11m search plan, involving US and Norwegian ships, will cover 77O square miles of sea, said Jean-Paul Troadec, chief of the French air crash investigation agency BEA.

Victims’ families welcomed the effort. John Clemes, whose brother was among the dead said it had “raised our hopes.”

“Our one regret is that it took so long” to resume searching that was halted last summer, he said.

Mr Troadec said the search site includes depths of up to 12,000 feet.

The new search will be jointly financed by Airbus and Air France. The US Navy and the National Transportation Safety Board will help, along with accident experts from Britain, Germany, Russia and Brazil and private companies.

The lifespan of the so-called “pingers” attached to the black boxes is only about a month, but officials say submarines and boats equipped with sonar gear can find the wreckage from the Airbus 330 even without the signals.

The second and most recent search for the black boxes ended in August.

Investigators have said that the crash was probably caused by a series of failures, but that they will not know definitively without the black boxes.


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