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Data shows Air France flight 447 fell 38,000 feet before crashing

Plane fell faster than 11,000 feet a minute as it plunged towards the water in crash which killed all 228 people on board, including three young Irish women.

A picture of the crashed Air France flight 447 landing gear shown at a press conference in April 2011.
A picture of the crashed Air France flight 447 landing gear shown at a press conference in April 2011.
Image: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

DATA RETRIEVED from the black box recorders on the Air France flight which crashed into the ocean off Brazil in 2009 shows that the plane stalled three times before the plane fell from 38,000 feet in four minutes.

Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed during a storm, killing all 228 passengers and crew on board. The recorders show that the two co-pilots struggled to regain control as the plane dropped.

Earlier analysis had shown that the main pilot, Captain Marc Dubois, was out of the cockpit for a routine rest break when problems began on board. He had only returned to the cockpit about a minute into the emergency and did not take back the controls.

Three young Irish women were returning from a holiday on board the flight. Doctors Jane Deasy, 27, of Rathgar, Dublin, Aisling Butler, 22, of Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and Eithne Walls, from Belfast, were among those killed in the crash. Deasy’s body was recovered and returned to Ireland, but the remains of the other two women have not been found.

The investigators’ initial findings have not assigned blame for the crash nor have they analysed the part played by the Pitot tubes (the plane’s speed sensors, believed to have had a bearing in the accident). The tubes have not yet been recovered from the crash site.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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