BEA: Air France Flight 447 Stalled, Followed by 3-1/2 Free Fall Into Atlantic Ocean

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Two co-pilots facing faulty instrument readings and a stall fought to regain control of an Air France flight before the plane slammed into the Atlantic in a 3 1/2 minute fall, killing all 228 people aboard, accident investigators said Friday.

The captain was on a routine rest break when the autopilot and autothrust turned off. The captain returned about a minute later and the two copilots maintained hands on the controls while the stall alarm sounded twice. The crash is still under investigation with the cause of the crash not yet been determined. A briefing released by the BEA on May 27, 2011 revealed that the aircraft crashed following an aerodynamic stall.

Air France Flight 447 was a scheduled flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 aircrew. The crash was the deadliest in the history of Air France, and the first fatal crash of an Airbus A330 while in passenger service.

BEA, Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile, is similar to the FAA for the United States. The agency is responsible for investigating aviation and making safety recommendations.

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