The week after search teams discovered an engine and pieces of the fuselage and a wing, they have found the tail section of Air France Flight 447, which plunged into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. The families of the victims were given the news during a meeting with the BEA, the air accident investigation agency in France.
Jean Paul Troadec, the head of the BEA, is said to have told the families that the wreckage piece included the area where the flight’s black box data recorders should be. However, he hasn’t confirmed if the boxes were found as well. Nelson Marinho, a spokesman for a victims’ family association in Brazil, says they are hopeful the black boxes will be recovered, as the tail section was relatively intact. He added that he’s 99% certain they will be recovered, though the BEA has clarified there is no guarantee.
According to experts, however, there is no guarantee that the black boxes will still work if they are found. Flight International’s David Learmount says that, after being underwater for so long, pressure and corrosion is likely to have damaged the wreckage. The recorders aren’t designed to withstand the pressure of the depth where the plane went down.
Martine Del Bono, a spokeswoman for the BEA, says that they are working fiercely under a very short period to have a maximum amount of information to be able to find the data recorders. However, they don’t know where they are and have to find them at the site.
At the time of the crash, the pilots of the Airbus A330, which was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, lost contact with air traffic controllers while flying over an area of the Atlantic known for turbulence and storms. However, there has been a mystery surrounding the cause of the plane’s plunge into the sea, baffling experts since it’s unusual that modern aircraft experience such issues mid-flight. Since the tragedy, teams have carried out 3 previous searches. However, they have only found some of the bodies with a few pieces of the wreckage – most of which has been discovered only recently.
Robert Soulas lost his daughter and son-in-law in the crash and has been appointed vice president of a support group for the families of the victims. He says that he and others in the group were disappointed that relatives haven’t been invited to join the recent recovery operation. They really want to have someone on board – particularly since this isn’t just a question of recovering parts of the plane, as the efforts will also include retrieving bodies. He has previously expressed concern that retrieving the bodies will reopen old wounds for the grief-stricken.Author's Google+ page