Video: Black boxes detail Flt. 447’s final moments

  1. Closed captioning of: Black boxes detail Flt. 447’s final moments

    >> it's been a mystery for nearly two years. what caused air flight 447 to plunge into the atlantic en route from rio to paris killing all 228 on board? michelle kosinski is in london with new details fors us. good morning.

    >> reporter: hi, meredith. investigators want to know what happened to this plane. one of the safest aircraft out there. it just seemed to disappear from the sky over the atlantic in june of 2009 . for a long time it's been thought the problem started when the speed sensorses iced over in bad weather . now from black box data it looks like the recorders are confirming that. after two years of searching, two and a half miles beneath the atlantic surface they are there in the grim, otherworldly field of debris. the black boxes of 447 pulled into the light of day by the same institution which found the "titanic" with deep water sonar.

    >> we have been waiting for a long time. more than 33 months.

    >> reporter: now according to sources familiar with the data, the captain of the airbus 330 wasn't in the cockpit when the trouble started about four hours into the flight between rio and paris, entering a monster storm. he can be heard rushing in to help the copilots save the plane. it's common for a captain to get rest.

    >> s that's a normal condition on a long flight.

    >> reporter: the newses paper says electronic sensorses caused the auto pilot to disengage. the plane went into a sharp climb, stalled and fell from the sky hitting the ocean intact on its belly and shattering. an explanation that's been awaited by families of the 228 people on board from 33 countries including an american geologist and his wife.

    >> we have the recorders that they are intact, that we have the data. that will let us unlock the mystery to put pieces together to understand it to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    >> reporter: it is still a question to what extent the pilots may have reacted incorrectly. first was the computer making the situation worse? we expect more information this friday. airbus has started using sensorssensors that resist freezing.

    >> thank you very much. its's news services
updated 5/23/2011 4:10:47 PM ET 2011-05-23T20:10:47

It took just four minutes for Air France flight 447 to plummet into the Atlantic Ocean after stalling between Brazil and Africa, according to a report from Der Spiegel. The German paper cited a source close to the investigative team, which has been analyzing the recordings since mid-May.

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Story: Investigators find Air France black box

The recordings show that the captain was not in the cockpit when the Airbus A330 began experiencing trouble. The captain can reportedly be heard rushing back to the cockpit, shouting instructions at his co-pilots when the plane stalled.

The black boxes were extracted in early May by robots combing the wreckage nearly 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface. The flight crashed in June 2009 when it was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The crash killed all 228 people on board.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but Der Spiegel reports that a combination of human and technical errors may be to blame. The plane was in the midst of a treacherous storm that froze its speed sensors, a critical instrument for determining and maintaining flight speed. In such situations, a pilot must maintain an exact speed or the plane will stall.

"If the plane can't make a recovery, it plummets at breakneck speed," Jean François Huzen, an Air France captain and union representative for pilots, told Der Spiegel. The paper also suggested a computer could have been responsible for the plane's final, fatal maneuver.

Air France and France's air accident investigation agency declined to comment on the report, according to the Daily News.

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