France’s aviation safety agency says the Air France flight from Rio to Paris lost key speed data and stalled three times before plummeting into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people aboard.
According to information from the analysis of the flight data recorders recovered from the crash site earlier this month, the plane dropped at a speed of more than 3,000 meters a minute before crashing into the ocean.
The analysis showed that the plane’s speed displays appeared to malfunction, before the aircraft began its fatal plunge into the sea.
The two co-pilots were flying the plane at 11,600 meters when the problems began, but the captain was out of the cockpit taking a standard rest break. He was called and returned to the flight deck, but was not at the controls when the plane crashed.
A preliminary inquiry conducted prior to recovering the data recorders pointed to a possible icing problem with the probes measuring air speed. But there has been no definitive conclusion as to the cause of the crash.
In an article earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Airbus had registered 32 instances of problems involving ice buildup on similar aircraft between 2003 and 2009.
In March, a French judge placed Airbus under investigation for possible involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2009 crash.