Air France Rio crash: Jet plunged in minutes

May 27 2011

The Air France jet which crashed into the Atlantic en route from Rio in 2009 stalled and fell in three and a half minutes, French investigators report.

The air accident investigations bureau (BEA) found the crew had struggled with contradictory speed readings just before the plane crashed.

The BEA statement did not look at the causes of the crash but one theory is that the jet's speed probes failed.

All 228 people on board were killed in the disaster.

The BEA findings were released in an online statement in response to speculation in the media over the findings from the flight recorders, only recovered from the sea this month.

A full report into the disaster is not expected until next year.

While cautioning against a rush to conclusions, Air France said on Friday that it appeared "the initial problem was the failure of the speed probes".

Since the crash, the air line has replaced the speed, or Pitot, probes on its Airbus fleet with a newer model, AFP news agency reports.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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