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You are here: Home News French News Pilot saw 'white light' where Air France flight...
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05/06/2009Pilot saw 'white light' where Air France flight lost

The captain of a Spanish airliner flying in the same area as the Air France plane when it disappeared says he saw an intense white light.

Madrid – The captain of a Spanish airliner flying in the same area as the Air France plane when it disappeared claims to have seen "an intense flash of white light", the company's director general said Thursday.

Flight 974 between Lima and Madrid was flying "slightly further north" than the ill-fated Airbus when the captain "saw something which seemed potentially interesting" for crash investigators, Jose Maria Llodra told AFP.

"Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds," the captain wrote in the report, Llodra said.

"Given the coincidence of time and place, I bring to your attention these elements so that they may be, possibly, useful in casting a light on the facts," the added in the report which has been sent to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish aviation security authority.

The co-pilot and a passenger on the Air Comet flight also saw the light, Llodra said, confirming a report published earlier in daily newspaper El Mundo.

"At night you can see very far. I can't assess the information, say if it is plausible or not that the light which was seen was from the Airbus. I also can't give an opinion about what happened," he said.

When the pilot reported seeing the light, the Air Comet flight was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet and its position was seven degrees north latitude and 49 degrees west longitude.

The Air Comet plane was flying some 60 kilometres (40 miles) further north than its scheduled route to avoid stormy weather, Llodra said.

"That night there were intense storms in the area," he said.

El Mundo said the report by the Air Comet pilot "put on the table" as a possible cause of the crash "the explosion of a bomb on board the plane".

But the newspaper noted that the automatic messages sent by the plane just before it went down which were cited by the Brazilian media pointed toward a loss of control of the plane by the pilot after navigation systems broke down due to "heavy turbulence".

French daily Le Monde said Thursday that the pilots of the Air France plane may not have been flying at the right speed to combat foul weather.

The Air France flight 447 went down on Monday during a flight from Rio to Paris with 228 people on board under mysterious circumstances.

Air Comet is a Madrid-based airliner that mainly flies long-haul routes between Spain and Latin America.

AFP / Expatica

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