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Data retrieved from Air France Flight 447 records two years after crash

Three Irish women were among those who perished when the place crashed into the sea. Investigators have been working since the 2009 crash to determine the cause of the crash.

One of the two flight data recorders retrieved from the Flight 447 crash site.
One of the two flight data recorders retrieved from the Flight 447 crash site.
Image: AP Photo/Michel Euler

FRENCH INVESTIGATORS confirmed today that they have retrieved the data recorded onto special devices fitted in the Air France plane which crashed in the ocean off the Brazilian coast on 1 June 2009.

Flight 447 was flying in stormy weather from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it disappeared from radar with 228 people on board. Three young Irish women who were returning from a holiday were among those on board.

The remains of some of the victims and plane wreckage were subsequently recovered from the Atlantic Ocean through a joint operation involving Brazilian and French investigators. Earlier this month, a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder were recovered from the sea.

DNA tests are currently being carried out on two bodies which were recovered from the crash site earlier this month.

There had been fears the recorders suffered irreparable damage due to corrosion and pressure after spending two years in the sea, but investigators from the French air accident investigation agency BEA said today that material from the recorders was downloaded over the weekend.

“These downloads gathered all of the data from the Flight Data recorder, as well as the whole recording of the last two hours of the flight from the Cockpit Voice Recorder,” the BEA said.

Investigators will spend several weeks analysing the data before releasing a report this summer. Messages sent by the plane’s computers showed that it was receiving false airspeed readings, but authorities say the crash was more likely caused by a series of problems than a sensor error.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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