The pilots of the Air France Airbus that crashed off Brazil may have struggled to the end to control their stricken aircraft because it remained intact until it hit the Atlantic, investigators indicated today.
In a first report on the disaster that killed all 228 aboard, the French accident bureau (BEA) reported that the Airbus A330 had not broken up at altitude and was not in a nose-down dive. The debris showed that it had shattered when it smashed belly-first into the sea early on June 1, the BEA said.
"The plane was not destroyed while it was in flight," Alain Bouillard, the chief of the investigation into Flight 447, said. "It seems to have hit the surface of the water in level attitude and with a strong vertical acceleration."
This could indicate that the crew had retained some control after the aircraft plummeted in four minutes from its cruising altitude of 35,000ft on it
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