Air France, Airbus face trial over 2009 Rio-Paris disaster


Air France and aircraft maker Airbus go on trial in Paris on Monday on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 crash of a flight from Brazil, where all 228 people aboard perished.

The case focuses on alleged insufficient pilot training and a defective speed monitoring probe, which was quickly replaced on planes worldwide in the months after the accident.

Flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris plunged into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm in the early hours of June 1, 2009, when it stalled after entering a zone of strong turbulence.

The Airbus A330 was carrying 12 crew members and 216 passengers, including 61 French. It was the carrier’s deadliest crash.

Although, debris was found in the following days but it took nearly two years to locate the bulk of the fuselage and recover the “black box” flight recorders.

Air France and Airbus were charged as the inquiry progressed, with experts determining the crash resulted from mistakes made by pilots disorientated by so-called Pitot speed-monitoring tubes that had frozen over in thick cloud.

Both companies have continuously denied any criminal negligence, and investigating magistrates overseeing the case dropped the charges in 2019, attributing the crash mainly to pilot error.

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