New Atlantic hunt for Air France plane wreck to start March

4th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

France will next month begin its fourth search for wreckage of an Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009 with 228 people on board en route from Rio to Paris, officials said Friday.

The hunt will begin around March 20 and will be "a systematic exploration of a zone of around 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles)" using a German mini-submarine that will be taken to the area on a ship, they said.

The search could last until July, France's BEA air-accident investigation said in a statement.

A third search of the ocean floor to try to locate the black box flight recorders ended in failure last May.

Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went down roughly midway between Brazil and Senegal on June 1, 2009 in the deadliest crash in Air France's history.

The crash, which was partially blamed on the aircraft's malfunctioning speed sensors, claimed the lives of all 228 people on board, of more than 30 nationalities. Most of those killed were French, Brazilian and German.

Air France was in December ordered to pay 727,000 dollars (540,000 euros) to relatives of a Brazilian family that died in the accident.

The airline, through its insurers, had made compensation payments to the relatives of the passengers and crew, but continues to defend itself from litigation in Brazil.

© 2011 AFP

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