When an airplane crashes with multiple fatalities involved there is a lengthy investigation that takes months, sometimes even years before an official report is released announcing the actual cause of the crash. Authorities scour through as much of the evidence as possible, including the black box along with flight records and personnel training records and activities leading up to the time of the flight.
One final report following an investigation conducted by the government of France found the cause of a fatal plane crash that killed 228 on board was the result of pilot error. In June of 2009, Air France Flight 447 dropped into the Atlantic Ocean after the pilots did not respond appropriately when flight instruments began giving erroneous readings. The airplane stalled at 38,000 before it dropped for three and a half minutes crashing into the ocean.
According to the authorities, the black box revealed there had been no announcement made to the passengers that an emergency had occurred when the plane was falling. The study of the crash was released by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis and detailed how the pilots responded incorrectly when the speed sensors on the aircraft began malfunctioning. After the crash, it was initially thought the aircraft’s cabin depressurized and the plane came apart mid-flight. That was not the case, according to the final report, which states the passengers were likely killed on impact.
As we have reported in a number of posts, pilot error is often to blame for fatal plane crashes, whether small private aircraft or large commercial international flights, such as Air France Flight 447. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits usually follow incidents of pilot error and negligence on the part of the owners and operators of the airline. It is their responsibility to ensure their personnel is properly trained and qualified to fly the aircraft.
Apparently pilot training requirements will be thoroughly reviewed in the wake of the crash as two of the pilots in charge of the aircraft at the time of the emergency had no experience flying an aircraft without instrumentation. The captain of the flight had taken a nap at the time of the tragedy and the co-pilot could be heard on the black box telling the captain when he rushed back into the cockpit that they had “lost control of the plane.”
Source: The Huffington Post, “Air France Flight 447 Investigation Finds Pilot Error Was Responsible For Crash,” July 5, 2012