Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Germanwings 9525 Crash

The aviation industry is in mourning today after the shock crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 yesterday morning. As the investigation in to the cause of the disaster is in its infancy more information emerged today of the flights final moments

The French environment and transport minister, Ségolène Royal,  said today that the flight crew of the Airbus A320 had stopped responding on radio at 10.30am yesterday when the aircraft was over the Mediterranean.

The aircraft crashing into the side of a mountain in the French Alps just after 10.48am, it lost altitude rapidly, descending from 28,000 feet to less than 2,000 feet without transmitting any form of distress signal, either by radio or electronically.

Ms Royal said that events in the cockpit of the plane “between 10.30am and 10.31am” were “crucial” and may hold the “key” to unearthing the mystery of what caused the crash which killed 150 people.

The cockpit voice recorder was recovered yesterday and was taken to the laboratories of the French air investigation bureau, the BEA, at Le Bourget near Paris this morning. Although the recorder was damaged in the crash, preliminary examinations have been positive in the possibility of retrieving information. The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said whilst it had been damaged in the crash but was “usable”. 

According to radar logs, the aircraft was at a cruising altitude of 28,524 feet at 1029am, then at 1030 it had fallen to 26,453 and one minute later it had dropped to 24,380 feet. For the next 17 minutes, the A320 lost about 1,000 feet each a minute. This appears to be more a controlled rapid descent rather than an uncontrolled dive. The aircraft disappeared from radar soon after 10.48am and it is believed to have hit the mountain a few minutes later.

Ms Royal confirmed to media this morning that, soon after 10.30am, when the pilots had stopped responding by radio, the French military scrambled a Mirage jet fighter to intercept and investigate. According to local media, this French Forces jet was seen by eye-witnesses following the doomed airliner as it skimmed the Alpine ridges before crashing into a sheer mountain-side.  It's believed the Mirage pilot could have vital information on final moments of the stricken aircraft. 
Staff members of Germanwings and Lufthansa hold a candlelight vigil outside the headquarters of Germanwings in Cologne

More to follow

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