Debris from Air France 447, which crashed en route from Brazil to France last month, killing 228 people, has arrived in France, the French air accident investigation agency BEA said Wednesday.
“The debris … will be sent to Toulouse where they will be examined at the Center of Aeronautics Tests of Toulouse (a branch of the Defense Ministry) under the control of the police and the BEA investigators,” said the French air accident investigation agency BEA. The wreckage was transported to France from Brazil by the ship “La Ville de Bordeaux,” according to the plane’s manufacturer Airbus. It will be taken overland to Toulouse by truck. Flight 447 went down in the Atlantic Ocean in stormy weather as if flew from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France on June 1. Only 51 bodies were recovered, and the search is ongoing for the cause of the crash. The search for the data and voice recorders from the plane entered a second phase last week, according to France’s accident investigation agency. The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder — commonly known as “black boxes” — stop giving out acoustic broadcasts after 30 days. But investigators decided to continue listening for the “pings” for another 10 days after that. On July 10, two U.S. naval vessels and the French Navy submarine called off their search for the recorders, which investigators hope will shed light on exactly how and why the plane crashed. The second phase of the search will involve France’s oceanographic ship “Pourquoi Pas” which carries specialized exploration and intervention vehicles, according to the BEA.
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The French vessel will conduct new searches using diving equipment and towed sonar, the BEA said. Finding the recorders is of “capital importance” and “no effort must be spared in achieving this end,” Air France has said. “We want to stress that for the sake of the families, we hope that the search for the black boxes will be successful,” an Air France representative told CNN. The crash was the worst in Air France’s 75-year history. Earlier this month, investigators revealed that the plane bellyflopped intact into the Atlantic Ocean. Investigator Alain Bouillard said it was still not clear what caused the crash. The mountainous ocean floor in the search area ranges from 3,280 to 15,091 feet, BEA officials have said in the past, making the search for the recorders — and the rest of the plane’s debris — difficult. “It is as if it fell in the Andes (mountains),” Olivier Ferrante, chief of the BEA search mission said. Brazil called off the search for bodies on June 27, having found 51 of the 228 people who died, according to the military. Investigators have also found more than 600 parts and structural components of the plane, along with luggage, Bouillard said.