BEA - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile - Zone Sud - Bâtiment 153 - 200, rue de Paris - Aéroport du Bourget - 93352 Le Bourget Cedex - FRANCE - Téléphone 33 1 49 92 72 00 - Télécopie 33 1 49 92 72 03BEA - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile - Zone Sud - Bâtiment 153 - 200, rue de Paris - Aéroport du Bourget - 93352 Le Bourget Cedex - FRANCE - Téléphone 33 1 49 92 72 00 - Télécopie 33 1 49 92 72 03

 

Flight AF 447 on 1st june 2009

A330-203, registered F-GZCP

 

BEA Press conference,
Recife harbour (Brazil), 25 March 2010,
English transcript of Mr Troadec's speech

 

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to present myself: My name is Jean-Paul Troadec and I am Director of the BEA, the organisation that is responsible of the investigation into the accident to flight AF447. The BEA's Brazilian counterpart is the CENIPA.

I am here today, accompanied by our partners in this expedition who will explain their roles to you.

  • Hans Martin Gravdal from Seabed
  • Dave Gallo from Institute Woods Hole
  • Sven Petersen from Geomar
  • William Lawson from Phoenix International
  • John Ric Sasse from the US Navy
  • and Lieutenant Colonel Luis Claudio Lupoli from CENIPA

I am also joined by Alain Bouillard, who is in charge of the investigation and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, co-ordinator of the maritime operations. A team of BEA investigators will also be embarked, it will be assisted by a German investigator from BFU and specialists from Airbus and Air France.

During my first visit to Brazil last December in Rio, I informed the Brazilian families of our intention to restart the sea searches in the early part of this year. I have returned to Brazil today to participate in the launch of this operation.

Almost 10 months ago, on 1st June 2009, flight Air France 447 from Rio to Paris disappeared into the sea off the coast of Brazil in the middle of the Atlantic. 228 people were on board. This accident affected 32 countries, in particular Brazil, France and Germany.

As soon as the accident was known about, significant means were mobilized to search for any trace of the missing airplane. The Brazilian armed forces, responsible for search and rescue in this area, deployed considerable means and energy, first in the hope of bringing help to the victims, then to search for any trace of the missing airplane. They of course received the support of French and American forces, in an unprecedented show of solidarity.

However, in addition to the search for debris floating on the surface of the sea, it was important to find the wreckage in order to be able to access the data contained on the flight recorders which are, in all transport aircraft accidents, the key to our understanding of them. This was urgent as the underwater locator beacons that are designed to assist location of the recorders only have a thirty-day transmission time.

Again, considerable means for submarine exploration were deployed, without success, until mid-August, at which time it was decided to suspend the searches in order to start again at a later date with different equipment.

Our works have shown that, without finding the wreckage and reading out the recorders, the investigation could never be conclusive and this accident would remain largely unexplained.

So that they have some chance of success within a reasonable time-span, it was essential to reduce the surface area of the search zone considerably. This task was assigned by the BEA to the participants in a working group composed of international scientists that attempted to reconstitute the trajectory of the debris between the time of the accident and the time it was found.

Among the organisations that participated in this work were Ifremer and the Woods Hole Institution, both of whom are present on this expedition. This work allowed us to define a search zone of the order of two thousand square kilometres, which is about ten times smaller than the initial search zone, and in which we think that we have a good chance of finding the wreckage.

Once the search zone had been defined, we had to find the most appropriate means for our expedition. Here I will remind you that the wreckage is on the seabed in very rough terrain that may extend as far down as four thousand meters. We launched an international call for tenders, with the aid of our working group.

We chose additional means amongst the best in the world, both in terms of equipment and the competence of the operators responsible for their operation. These operators will also be assisted by specialists in geology from Ifremer and Woods Hole, as we will be confronted with extremely rough undersea terrain.

These teams will work on two ships, which are along the pier not far from here:

  • The Seabed Worker from Seabed, equipped with an ROV, which also has two autonomous underwater vehicles, two of which belongs to Waitts Institute of Discovery and the other to Geomar. They will be operated by Woods Hole.
  • The Anne Candies from Phoenix International, which will carry a deep towed sonar and an ROV belonging to the US Navy.

We know Phoenix International very well because we have had the opportunity of working with them recently during the successful operation to recover the recorders from the Yemenia aircraft that crashed near the Comoros. We also had the opportunity to work directly with the US Navy during the previous search phases for the wreckage of flight AF 447.

During my visit yesterday, I have been very impressed by the technical characteristics of the latest generation Seabed ship. The Woods Hole Institution has a wide range of skills in the area of marine exploration.

All of these participants have agreed to consider our operation as a priority and to modify their schedules accordingly, for which we extend our thanks.

I would also mention the support that we have received from the Brazilian and French navy on the logistic aspects and for having put at our disposal Liaison Officers.

As you can see, we have gathered around us the best in the world in terms of equipment and specialists in deepwater undersea searches. This makes us optimistic on the success of this operation because we have given ourselves the best chance possible.

I will now hand over to the participants.

 

retour

 

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Accident on 1st June 2009 between Rio and Paris to the Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP, flight AF 447. Final Report, published on 5 July 2012.
 




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