July 8, 2009
Hope is running out that searchers will locate the flight data recorder from Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic for reasons unknown on June 1. The black box is only made to send out signals for 30 days; four ships equipped with acoustic sensors have been searching the ocean northeast of Brazil since mid-June, with no luck. According to the BEA, the French civil aviation agency investigating the accident, this first phase of the search will end on Friday.
The research ship Pourquoi Pas? (Why Not?) will continue hunting, however, with submersible robots and towed sonar. You can see the ship’s current location on this map.
Last week the BEA released an interim report on the accident, and there are still more questions than answers. About the only solid conclusion so far is that the airplane was intact when it slammed into the ocean at high speed.