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Pilot training blamed for 2009 Air France crash


Paris : The training of the pilots on an Air France plane, which crashed in 2009 killing 228 people, was partially blamed Friday by a French investigation agency after an analysis of the plane’s voice and data recorders, CNN reported.

All 228 people aboard the Airbus A330 Flight 447 from Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro to Paris were killed in the crash into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009.

The bulk of the wreckage was found by robot submarines near an underwater mountain range. More than 150 bodies were brought up from the crash site, but more than 70 were still missing.

The recorders from the plane were recovered in May, after almost two years.

The data found in them has shed new light on the final minutes of the flight, France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) said in a new report.

The recorders revealed the pilots had failed to discuss repeated stall warnings and “had received no high altitude training” to deal with the situation, it said.

The pilots got conflicting air speed readings and, after the stall, responded mostly by pointing the nose upwards rather than downwards.

They failed to regain control of the aircraft and no announcement was made to the passengers before it plummeted from the sky.

Air France, however, defended the pilots’ performance. It said there was “no reason to question the crew’s technical skills” in the face of “multiple improbable factors”.

French Transport Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said the BEA was responsible for establishing the facts and that it was up to the courts to assign any blame.

In its response to the report, Air France said the two co-pilots and the captain “showed an unfailing professional attitude, remaining committed to their task to the very end”.

“Air France pays tribute to the courage and determination they showed in such extreme conditions,” it said.