Experts look at probe maintenance in Air France crash: report

24th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

An initial experts' report into the crash of an Air France jet off Brazil last year, which killed 228 people, points to possible maintenance problems with air speed probes, a newspaper said Saturday.

Experts said they removed nine probes out of a total of 84 seized from Air France and some were either moderately or highly degraded, which could be linked to the length of time between checks, said the French daily Liberation.

The finding could mean that the probes were not cleaned often enough, said Liberation, which had seen a copy of the preliminary report into the cause of the crash of the Airbus A330 in June 2009.

In mid-December the French air accident investigation agency BEA said that the jet's speed probes, made by French firm Thales, gave false readings and were "one of the factors" in the crash but "not the sole cause".

After the crash Airbus and US and European air authorities ordered airlines to replace the so-called pitot tubes on A330 and A340 aircraft made by Thales with a different model produced by US firm Goodrich.

Air France said in a statement Saturday that the BEA enquiry "showed that Air France scrupulously respected all the procedures set out by the manufacturers and the authorities".

"Air France has not seen the report mentioned today by Liberation," the statement added.

Alain Jakubowicz, from a group of lawyers representing the families of the victims, the new report "doesn't show much new", saying that the "only authority" they would rely on was the investigating judges.

French authorities said last month they had resumed the search for the black box recorders of the passenger jet.

The crash of Air France flight AF447 occurred on June 1, as the plane was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with passengers and crew of 32 nationalities, including 72 French citizens, 58 Brazilians and 26 Germans.

© 2010 AFP

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