Recovered: Air France Flight 447 Voice Recorder & Flight Data Recorder!

After a 2 year search, the flight data recorder and voice recorder from 2009’s Air France flight 447 have been found. There are several flight 447 conspiracy theories about the crash, though most people seem to agree that it had something to do with the massive storm in the flight’s path. But after nearly 2 years, maybe we’ll find out more about the final moments of Air France Flight 447 and why it crashed into the ocean.

Air France Flight 447 Voice Recorder
Air France Flight 447 Voice Recorder

Flight 447 Black Boxes Countdown: Search Teams Have 8 Days

On Tuesday, the French newspaper Le Monde broke a story that a French submarine had detected sounds from the Air France Flight 447 black boxes ( Here’s the original story:

PARIS, June 23, 2009

Air France Black Boxes Reportedly Detected

French Newspaper Says Navy Has Picked Up “Very Weak” Signal From Data Recorders At Bottom Of Atlantic

(CBS) A newspaper reported Tuesday that French naval vessels had detected a “very weak” signal from flight data recorders, or black boxes, of downed Air France flight 447, which plunged into the Atlantic on June 1. Le Monde said on its Web site a mini submarine was being sent to try and retrieve the vital aircraft components at a depth of some 5,000 yards, but the recovery was being hampered by strong currents. The Airbus A330 crashed into the ocean in the midst of a flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, killing all 228 passengers and crew aboard. Ten of 50 bodies recovered from the flight have been identified as Brazilians, medical examiners said Monday. Investigators cite broken limbs sustained by the victims whose bodies were recovered in drawing their preliminary conclusion that the aircraft broke up in the air before plunging into the southern Atlantic. Recovery of the black boxes has been the central focus of the search effort, as information contained in the recorders should be able to shed further light on what downed the passenger jet.

Later on in the day, a France Transport Ministry official denied that the ping detected was that of a black box from Air France Flight 447 (more at Reuters).

The original reports from Le Monde were that a mini research submarine, the Nautile, was sent down to search for the 2 Flight 447 black boxes based on the report of a very weak signal from the flight recorders. Supposedly, French ships had detected this very weak signal during a search near the presumed crash location in the deepest depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators are still looking for debris and bodies from the doomed Air France flight. Knowing that the flight’s data recorder and voice recorder (aka the black boxes) will transmit a signal for about 30 days after an accident, search and rescue teams are down to about 8 days left. Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1st, so that gives them just over a week to find the Flight 447 black boxes.

French ships, which include a nuclear submarine with advanced acoustic sonar equipment, have been searching an area with a 50 mile radius, and they are sending United States Navy underwater listening devices to depths of nearly 20,000 feet. This particular area of the Atlantic Ocean is not very search friendly. It’s a very remote area of the Atlantic, and the terrain in this particular region is very mountainous. To makes matters even worse the black boxes have a signal that will only travel about 1.25 miles. The black boxes contain locator beacons, known as pingers, and those pingers will send an electronic impulse every second for at least 30 days. Given all the circumstances involved with this crash, locating the electronic tapping sound and finding these black boxes would be nothing short of a miracle.

If those black boxes are never found, we may never know the actual cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447. I definitely wish the search team the best of luck. God speed to you all.

For more on the search for the Flight 447 black boxes and the Flight 447 tragedy:

  • Hopes of finding jet’s flight recorders fade fast (link)
  • Officials: No black box signals from Flight 447 (link)
  • Official Air France Flight 447 News Site (link)
  • FLight 447 on Wikipedia (link)

Flight 447 Victims Found Naked, Most Likely That Plane Broke Up Before Impact

According to an Air France probe (here), it turns out that many of the Air France Flight 447 victims have been found in the Atlantic Ocean with little or no clothing. The theory is that the wind likely caused the removal of their clothes. Combined with the fact that victims’ bodies have been found 53 miles apart, it’s becoming pretty obvious that the Airbus A330-200 plane broke up before hitting the water. Furthermore, nearly all of the victims’ bodies had multiple fractures, and none of them had water in their lungs. That pretty much rules out drowning. Based on the fact that none of the bodies have burn marks on them, a fire or an explosion was most likely not the cause of the crash.

Update (7-2-2009):

  • French: Air France Flight 447 fell intact into sea (Yahoo News)

Final Destination Experience For Passenger Who Missed Air France Flight 447

Holy crap. According to this article, a woman who was supposed to be on Air France Flight AF 447 — but missed the flight — was killed today in a car wreck in Austria:

An Italian woman has been killed in a car crash only days after she narrowly avoided being a victim of the Air France plane crash. Johanna Ganthaler missed the Air France flight which crashed into the Atlantic. Johanna Ganthaler and her husband Kurt were on holiday in Brazil and were supposed to take Air France flight 447 back to Paris. But they missed the doomed flight and decided to take a different flight home to Europe instead.

Mrs. Ganthaler and her husband were traveling in Kufstein, Austria when their car veered across a lane and swerved into an oncoming truck. Mr. Ganthaler survived the car wreck, but Johanna lost her life in the wreck.

The other day I saw a movie trailer for the next Final Destination movie. I think I’ll be skipping that movie. I do not enjoy it when life imitates art.

Flight AF 447 News: Terror Names Linked to Two Passengers on Air France Flight 447

Though terrorism was highly unlikely as a factor in the crash of Air France Flight AF 447, it was reported today that two of the passengers shared names with radical Islamic terrorists (source):

Soon after news of the fatal crash broke, agents working for the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the French equivalent of MI6, were dispatched to Brazil.

It was there that they established that two names on the passenger list are also on highly-classified documents listing the names of radical Muslims considered a threat to the French Republic.

Even though everyone is certain that computer malfuntions and severe weather were the main (and likely only) causes of the crash of Flight 447, the news that two of the passengers shared names with known terrorists is totally creepy.

France has received numerous threats from Islamic terrorist groups in recent months, especially since French troops were sent to fight in Afghanistan.

I can’t find any reports of France receiving terror threats recently, but I did post about Air France receiving a bomb threat 5 days before Flight 447 crashed. Was it terror? Probably not. It’s most likely a terrible coincidence. People tend to overlook coincidences like this, but the French government is taking this very seriously. And while I’m sick of terrorism in the news and things being blamed on terrorism, I hope the French government gets to the bottom of this. I sincerely hope that terrorism is ruled in the case of Flight AF 447.

Note: One of the reasons I hate the threat of terrorism is because there are so many conspiracy theorists out there who claim that terrorism is the threat that enables our governments to get away with anything and gain mass approval for their respective agendas. I really hope that terrorism does not get linked to some conspiracy theory about Flight AF 447. The fact that this terrible accident happened already makes me sad. Thinking that there was terrorism involved would make me more sad. Having to think that there is some conspiracy theory that somehow involves a terror threat – that would just make me downright depressed about the world we live in. Can’t we all just get along?

Brazil Military Finds Bodies of Air France Flight 447 Victims

Location of 2 Flight 447 Victims Found Today in Atlantic Ocean
Location of 2 Flight 447 Victims Found Today in Atlantic Ocean

The Brazil Air Force and Navy have found the bodies of 2 men from the Air France Flight 447. Along with the bodies, the Brazil Air Force and Navy reported recovering a wing fragment from the A330-200 Airbus, a blue aircraft seat, a leather bag containing an Air France ticket, and a backpack containing a vaccination card. For more, check out these articles:

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Also, more information was released today about the final minute of Air France Flight AF 447 (source):

The Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic sent out 24 automatic error messages in its final moments as its systems — including the autopilot — shut down, investigators said Saturday.

The director of the French air accident investigation agency, Paul-Louis Arslanian, said that it was impossible to tell from the signals whether the doomed crew had shut off the autopilot or whether it cut out.

Air France Flight 447 Theories: Weather-Related or Conspiracy?

Yesterday, I posted a few of the theories of the crash of Air France Flight AF 447. While everything seems to be pointing to a weather factors, the truth is that we still don’t know. We may never know. Here are some interesting news articles with more on Flight 447:

While AF 447 conspiracy theories abound, it is much more reasonable that violent turbulence and lightning caused multiple system failures on Air France Flight 447. I mean, seriously. It had to be weather related factors that caused the crash. The article describing the final 14 minutes gives me the chills. Those people must have been terrified. Good bless them and their families.

One more thing: Why doesn’t the American military send out a nuclear sub to help find the black box. Nuclear subs are equipped with the most sensitive, sophisticated detection systems. It’s like radar on a fighter plane, but in acoustic form. They use these detection systems to locate/track the sound signatures of other submarines. Why can’t they use these systems to find a black box? In all likelihood, the black box from Flight 447 has been crushed and destroyed by water pressure. I read somewhere that water pressure in depths of 15,000-20,000 feet is close to 16,000 lbs per square inch. That would crush pretty much anything. But I’m going to keep a positive outlook. I really hope they find the black box.

Update: Air France Flight 447 Theories

Much has happened in the past 24 hours. Yesterday, news came out that the Brazilian Air Force had located debris that was likely from Air France Flight AF 447. The military planes spotted an airplane seat, a fuel slick and a pieces of white debris scattered over a 3 mile range in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The debris was first spotted early Tuesday morning, and it was 35 miles apart. Defense Minister Nelson Jobim confirmed that the debris was that of Flight 447.

Efforts are being made to quickly locate and recover the flight’s black box, which will have further data regarding the plane’s final moments. The black box will continue to emit signals for days, and it will be an incredible challenge to locate it, as the depth of the Atlantic Ocean can extend down to 22,000+ feet. It’s the perverbial needle in a haystack, but in this scenario, robotic divers are looking for the black box in pitch black water. And there is a ton of ocean surface area to cover. I certainly wish them luck. They will need it.

Now, on to the theories as to why Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. While the exact cause of the crash of AF 447 may never be known, here are a few of the theories I have seen so far:

Lightning Strike in a Severe Storm

Flight 447 was flying in the intertropical convergence zone, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where the northeast trade winds meet the southeast trade winds. The convergence of these two wind patterns is known to cause severe storms and extreme weather. The plane was flying at 35,000 feet, and the storms were topping out at 50,000 feet. There was likely no way to avoid the storm. No way to go over or around it. Apparently, pilots often face severe weather, and they typically have to pick their way through the storm. In a case where electrical malfunctions may have caused systems to go out, it could be that the pilots did not have any reliable data as they made their way through the storm. For example, if the pilots had lost use of their weather radar, finding a safe way through a severe storm could have been extremely difficult and ultimately tragic.

Examining many forums and news site, there are tons of interviews with experienced airline pilots, who claim that lightning was most likely not the primary cause for the crash of Flight 447. It appears that lightning could have played a role, but lightning is likely not the primary culprit in this scenario.

Turbulence: It is possible that Flight AF447 hit severe turbulence in the storm. Updrafts and downdrafts of 100mph were likely present in these storms, and those could prove extremely dangerous in the context of an extreme storm like the one they were flying in. Furthermore, the plane may have encountered several instances of turbulence, and it is even a possibility that some of that turbulence caused minor damage to the interior of the plane.

Other possible weather-related theories are icing, hail and precipitation. If you are interested on more detailed information regarding the weather’s impact on Flight 447, I recommend checking out this site here. Tim’s assessment is excellent.

Other Theories

Okay. Now that the weather-related scenarios are out of the way, new information came out today that the an Argentina-to-Paris Air France flight was delayed on May 27, 2009 due to a bomb threat (here):

The airport safety delayed an Air France flight this evening before departring for Paris immediately after the company received a bomb threat over the phone at the airport of Ezeiza.

The Federal Police, along the Firemen’s direction and the Airport’s Safety proceeded to inspect the plane, that arrived this morning from the French city and, after a brief stop, it was preparing to return.

The routine procedure lasted approximately one hour and a half and, as sources of the airport reported all the passengers are ok and they were not evacuated.

Currently there is no evidence to suggest that Flight AF 447 was the target of a bomb, but it is a strange coincidence that another Air France flight was delayed out of South America due to a bomb threat only a few days before Flight AF 447’s tragic crash.

Conspiracy Theories

Any time a plane crashes, there is a conspiracy theory. I found one conspiracy theory related to Flight 447. As we all know, there were 228 people on board the flight. Early reports say that the passengers represented 32 nationalities. It is thought that one of the passengers was Pedro Luiz de Orleans e Braganca. He was actually Prince Pedro Luiz de Orleans e Braganca, heir to the former Brazilian family that has been out of power since 1889. According to Wikipedia:

He was born 12 January 1983 in Rio de Janeiro and was the son of the Brazilian Prince Antonio and his Belgian wife, née Princess Christine de Ligne. The House of Ligne is one of the oldest and most prominent Wallonian noble families still extant in Belgium. Christine is a niece of former Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Through her, Pedro Luís held a remote place in the line of succession to the throne of Luxembourg.

As his father’s eldest brothers, Luís and Bertrand, are bachelors, it was expected, after his own father, that Pedro would in due time become the head of the Imperial House of Brazil and heir to the defunct Brazilian crown.

In addition to Brazil’s emperors, he was a descendant of Louis Philippe I, King of the French in the male line, and of King John VI of Portugal. He was also related to John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, renowned Dutch governor of the Brazilian northeast during the colonial period.

Apparently, Prince Pedro Luis was in line to become the Emporer, though it should be reiterated that his family has been out of power since 1889. It is highly unlikely that this conspiracy theory holds any water, but I thought it would be worth noting due to the Brazilian royalty possibly on board the plane.

I’ll be updating this blog with any new information related to Flight 447, so check back daily.