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Accident to the Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP and operated by Air France occured on 06/01/2009 in the atlantic ocean

Icing of Pitot probes in cruise, erroneous speed indications, stall, collision with ocean surface

Responsible entity

France - BEA

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Flight animation (YouTube channel): click here

During the night of Sunday 31 May to Monday 1st June 2009, the Airbus A330-203 registered F-GZCP operated by Air France crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The aeroplane had taken off at 22 h 29 to undertake scheduled flight AF 447 between Rio de Janeiro Galeão and Paris Charles de Gaulle. 12 crew members (3 flight crew, 9 cabin crew) and 216 passengers, from thirty-two nationalities, were on board. The last radio communication between the crew and the Brazilian ATC took place at 1 h 35. Between 2 h 10 and 2 h 15, a position message and 24 maintenance messages were transmitted by the ACARS system. On Monday 1st June 2009 at around 7 h 45, the BEA was alerted by the Air France Operations Coordination Centre.

After having established without doubt that the airplane had disappeared in international waters, and in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and to the French Civil Aviation Code (Book VII), the BEA, as Investigation Authority of the State of Registry of the aeroplane, instituted a safety investigation and a team was formed to conduct it.

In accordance with the provisions of Annex 13, Brazilian, American, British, German and Senegalese accredited representatives were associated with the investigation as the State of the engine manufacturer (NTSB) and because they were able to supply essential information to the investigation (CENIPA, ANAC) or because they provided assistance in the sea search phases (AAIB, BFU).

Investigation Chronology

  • 1st June 2009 : Search and Rescue (SAR) operations launched and coordinated by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Recife (Brazil). Safety investigation launched.
  • 6 – 18 June 2009: the remains of fifty victims and some aeroplane parts were found by French and Brazilian naval forces.
  • 10 June – 10 July 2009: undersea searches to detect signals transmitted by the two flight recorders' emergency locator beacons.
  • 2nd July 2009: publication of the first BEA Interim Report.
  • 27 July – 17 August 2009: undersea searches with side-scan sonar and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to locate the site of the aeroplane wreckage.
  • 17 December 2009: publication of the second BEA Interim Report.
  • September 2009 – January 2010: preparatory work by an international working group for the third campaign of sea searches for the aeroplane wreckage.
  • 2nd April – 24 May 2010: third campaign of undersea searches.
  • June 2010 – February 2011: analysis of all of the data gathered during the three previous undersea search campaigns in order to define a new strategy.
  • 25 March 2011: beginning of the fourth campaign of undersea searches.
  • 3rd April 2011: discovery of the aeroplane wreckage at a depth of 3,900 m, about 6.5 NM north of the last known aeroplane position.
  • 26 April 2011 – 13 May 2011: beginning of the fifth campaign of undersea searches. The BEA team, made up of twelve investigators and experts, devoted itself to the localisation and recovery of the flight recorders, to mapping the accident site, then to recovering the aeroplane parts that were useful to the safety investigation.
  • 1st May 2011: discovery of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
  • 2nd May 2011: recovery of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
  • 3rd May 2011: discovery and recovery of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).
  • 13 May 2011: beginning of the readout and analysis of the flight recorders at the BEA headquarters.
  • 21 May – 3rd June 2011: continuation of undersea operations. The ship and equipment made available by the BEA to representatives of the judicial authorities, which made it possible for them to recover the remains of one hundred and three victims.
  • 29 July 2011: publication of the third BEA Interim Report.
  • Beginning September – end December 2011: analysis of all aspects linked to the conduct of the flight by the "Human Factors" working group.
  • 5 July 2012: publication of the Safety Investigation Final Report.
Engine b
Landing gear a
Landing gear b
Groupe auxiliaire de puissance (APU), 29 avril 2011
AF447 - Zone couverte au 4 mai 2010
AF447 - Périmètre d'action déterminé, 25 avril 2010
AF447 - Zone couverte au 6 mai 2010
Bâtiment le "Pourquoi pas?" de l'Ifremer ayant participé à la phase de recherches en mer n° 1
AF447 - Enregistreur de paramètres (FDR) (3), 1er mai 2011
AF447 - Enregistreur de paramètres (FDR) (2), 1er mai 2011
AF447 - Enregistreur de paramètres (FDR) (1), 1er mai 2011
Engine a

  • Information, 29 March 2010

    The « Seabed Worker » left from Recife (Brazil) at around 05h00 local time this morning, to sail to the search zone.

    The « Anne Candies » should leave Recife this evening or tomorrow morning at the latest.

  • Framework and significance of technical investigations

    Within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), common provisions for organising investigations into aviation accidents and incidents have been adopted by the majority of countries. These provisions are collected in Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention, entitled “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations”. In paragraph 5.3 of this document, “When the location of the accident or serious incident cannot definitely be established as being in the territory of any State, the State of Registry shall institute and conduct any necessary investigation of the accident…”. A European Directive of 21 November 1994 (94/56/CE) and the French Law of 29 March 1999, provide details of the application of these provisions in relation to France.

    It should be noted that the sole intention of the technical investigation is to prevent future accidents. In order to achieve this, the investigation focuses on determining and understanding the circumstances of an event, on identifying its causes and on applying any lessons learned, without trying to identify any possible liability or blame. Its scope is therefore distinct from that of any investigation that may be conducted by the judicial authorities.

    The investigation can lead the BEA to issue safety recommendations, which are proposed courses of action that are considered as useful for aviation safety on the basis of the investigators’ findings. Such recommendations, as the European Directive 94/56/CE states, can in no way be considered to constitute a presumption of liability or blame.

    The investigation concludes with the issuing of a report, which is made public. For public transport accidents, its presentation follows an internationally determined format, as defined in Annex 13, which is based on four main sections. These contain the factual information, the analysis, the conclusions and the safety recommendations. Since an investigation into an aviation disaster generally takes a considerable time, interim reports can be published before the end of the investigation.

    Organisation of the technical investigation

    The Airbus A 330-200, registered F-GZCP, operated by Air France as flight AF 447 disappeared during the night of 31 May and June 1st. The airplane was carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members and was flying the route between Rio-de-Janeiro (Brazil) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France).

    Since the airplane disappeared over international waters, the BEA, representing the State of Registry, instituted an investigation, in accordance with the provisions of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the French Civil Aviation Code (Book VII).

    A team of investigators has been designated and has started work.

    The Investigator-in-Charge, Mr Alain BOUILLARD, has set up four working groups in the following areas:

    • Sea search operations,
    • Airplane background history,
    • Airplane operations,
    • Systems and equipment.

    Two investigators from the BEA, accompanied by experts from Airbus and Air France, are currently in Rio de Janeiro.

    The BEA plans to publish a first report towards the end of June.

  • Information, 6 June 2009, briefing

  • Press release from the Secrétariat d'État aux Transports, 12 July 2010


  • Press release, 1st June 2009

    On 1st June, the BEA was informed that an Airbus A330-203, registered F-GZCP, operated by Air France as flight AF 447, which was flying the route between Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France), disappeared over the sea. Radio contact was lost several hours after the takeoff, which was at 19h00 local time on 31 May 2009. According to information from the airline, 216 passengers and 12 members of the crew were on board the airplane.

    An investigation team has been designated.

    The BEA recommends, in such circumstances, to avoid any hasty interpretation or speculation on the basis of partial and non-validated information.

  • Press release, 2 June 2009

    The Brazilian authorities have confirmed to the BEA that floating debris has been observed in the search zone.

    The BEA will be holding a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday 3 June.

  • Press release, 3rd August 2011

    Since this morning the integrity of the BEA's investigation has been called into question following reactions to the publication of articles mentioning a modification made to the Confidential Draft Report, which had been sent to the advisers appointed by the operator, the manufacturer and the SNPL as well as to the investigation authorities participating in the investigation.

    This working document contained a draft recommendation relating to the functioning of the stall warning. This draft was withdrawn because it appeared to BEA investigators that the recommendation was premature at this stage of the investigation. In fact, this subject will have to be explored more fully by the « Avionics Systems » group and completed by the work of the « Human Factors » working group, whose creation was announced during the press conference on 29 July.

    This new working group, which will be made up of specialists in cognitive sciences, ergonomics and psychology will have to examine all aspects linked to man-machine interactions and to the pilots' actions in the last few minutes of the flight.

    Only after all of this work has been completed and included in the Final Report will it be possible for a recommendation on the functioning of the stall warning to be made, based on reasoned scientific analysis, work in which EASA will participate.

    The current controversy focuses on a recommendation that corresponds to the functioning of the stall warning in a situation where the airplane reached an extreme angle of attack that is never encountered in flight tests, or even considered.

    Finally, it should be noted that the warning sounded uninterruptedly for 54 seconds after the beginning of the stall, without provoking any appropriate reaction from the crew. This fact must be analysed as a priority by the working group.

    The report published on 29 July is an Interim Report. Its publication was necessary in order to issue several Safety Recommendations. The causes of the accident will be made known with the publication of the Final Report during the first half of 2012.

  • Press release, 4 May 2010: Update on the sea searches

    After reporting to Mr Dominique Bussereau, Secretary of State for Transport, on the sea searches, the BEA has, at the Secretary’s request, prepared a further stage in the operations. The BEA believes that it is in fact still possible to localize the airplane wreckage in or near the zone that has just been explored. It is thus considered appropriate to use the equipment that has already been mobilized and is available to continue the operations as quickly as possible. 

    The US Navy’s ROV’s and sonar, installed on board the “Anne Candies”, will now be unavailable due to their being mobilized for a military operation. In addition, the AUV belonging to Geomar must now participate in scientific research. Consequently, the searches will be continued with the Norwegian ship the Seabed Worker and two AUV’s.

    After consultation, Airbus and Air France have accepted to participate, each with 1.5 million Euros, in the financing of this continuation of phase 3 of the searches. 

    During a technical stopover for 48 hours in Recife, the crews and teams associated with the investigation were changed over. 

    The « Seabed Worker », equipped with two Remus 6000 autonomous underwater vehicles from the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Triton ROV, left Recife on the morning of Friday 30 April and arrived in the zone during the night of 2 May. Operations began during the day of 3 May.

    They are currently aimed at covering the peripheral areas of the initial search zone and at clearing up remaining doubts.

    The searches will continue in the following order:

    1. a zone adjacent to the initial search zone and situated to the north-west of the last known airplane position;
    2. the zone already covered situated in the initial search zone whose exploration appears to be required again due to the extremely rough terrain;
    3. finally, the northern part of the rectangle defined by the scientific work.

    zone de recherche

    The search operations in the zone will be completed around 25 May.

    This morning, the BEA met with the representatives of the « Entraide et Solidarité AF 447 » association, at their request, to give an update on the sea searches.


  • Press release, 5 June 2009

    The BEA will hold a second press conference on its premises at Le Bourget on Saturday 6 June from 10h to 12h. Journalists who wish to attend are asked to confirm their intentions with Martine Del Bono.

    A large quantity of more or less accurate information and attempts at explanations concerning the accident are currently being circulated.

    The BEA reminds those concerned that in such circumstances, it is advisable to avoid all hasty interpretations and speculation on the basis of partial or non-validated information.

    At this stage of the investigation, the only established facts are:

    • the presence near the airplane's planned route over the Atlantic of significant convective cells typical of the equatorial regions;
    • based on the analysis of the automatic messages broadcast by the plane, there are inconsistencies between the various speeds measured.
  • Press release, 5 October 2009

    This last weekend the press repeated some statements made about the accident to flight AF 447 that occurred on 1st June 2009. The BEA reminds those concerned that the information available is currently being studied by top French and foreign specialists. The investigation is progressing, but it is particularly difficult and it is too early to be able to describe the circumstances of the accident and even more so to explain them. Once again, the BEA recommends that the greatest care be exercised.

    As has already been announced, the BEA plans to release a further Interim Report before the end of the year. In parallel, information on the third phase of searches for the aeroplane wreckage will be announced as soon as investigators have finished preparing this campaign.

  • Press release, 6 May 2010: Update on the sea searches

    The French Navy Staff Headquarters this morning provided the BEA with the results of the latest analysis of the audio recordings made by the submarine Emeraude during the first phase of underwater searches.

    These results were obtained very recently and made it possible to define a zone of a few dozen square kilometres in which the airplane wreckage may be found.

    Given this latest information, the BEA has decided to extend the searches to this zone. It is in fact situated two hours sailing time to the south of the position of the ship that is currently exploring the area north-west of the last known position of the airplane. Searches will begin there tomorrow morning.

    In relation to these developments, the BEA will provide an update on the situation in its offices at Le Bourget on Monday 10 May between 14 h and 15 h. Journalists who wish to attend are requested to confirm their presence as soon as possible to Martine Del Bono, preferably by email. 

  • Press release, 7 December 2009

    The Director of the BEA will be in Rio de Janeiro on 12 December, accompanied by the Investigator-in-Charge, M. Bouillard. He will be meeting the families of the Brazilian victims, to whom he will give an update on the progress achieved in the AF 447 accident investigation. 

    The second interim report will be published on Thursday 17 December. On this occasion, the BEA will hold a press briefing at its HQ at Le Bourget from 15 h to 17 h.

    Journalists who wish to attend are asked to confirm their presence as soon as possible with Martine Del Bono, preferably by e-mail. 

    Previous to this, the BEA will present an update on the progress of the investigation and the sea searches to the representatives of the associations « Entraide et solidarité AF447 », « Association pour la vérité, l'aide et la défense des victimes du vol AF 447 » and « HIOP AF 447 ».

  • Press release, 12 June 2009

    The BEA will be holding a press conference concerning the ongoing operations at sea in its premises at Le Bourget on Wednesday, 17th June, from 10 to 11 am.

    Journalists who may wish to attend should confirm their presence with Martine Del Bono.

  • Press release, 13 October 2011

    Following the publication of Jean-Pierre Otelli's book "Erreurs de pilotage, Tome 5", the BEA notes that a chapter on the accident to the A330-203, Rio-Paris flight AF 447, which occurred on 1st June 2009, includes a part of a literal transcription of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

    The BEA strongly condemns the disclosure of this transcription, which is a violation of Article 14 of the European Regulation of 20 October 2010 that came into effect on 2 December 2010.

    This transcription mentions personal conversations between the crew members that have no bearing on the event, which shows a lack of respect for the memory of the late crew members.

    The BEA safety investigation has not yet been completed and any attempt at interpretation at this stage is partial and, as a result, can only fan the flames of the controversies of the last few months, which is harmful to all concerned. 

    This is why the BEA reminds those concerned that only an in-depth analysis of the facts will enable all the causes of the accident to be determined.

    New Safety Recommendations will thus be issued in addition to the existing ones. All of this work will be included in the Final Report that will be published by June 2012.

  • Press release 15 July 2009

    The parts of the airplane recovered during the sea searches arrived at Pauillac (33) on the evening of 14 July. They have been taken to Toulouse where they will be examined by the Toulouse aeronautical test centre (CEAT, Ministry of Defence) under the control of senior police officers from the Air Transport Gendarmerie and investigators from the BEA.

    In the search area, the Ifremer oceanographic ship the «Pourquoi pas?», after relieving crews and loading additional equipment, will conduct a new phase of underwater searches. This phase, which will take around a month, will begin next week with diving equipment and towed sonar equipment.

  • Press release, 17 December 2009

    Due to the heavy snowfall this morning, the BEA has decided to cancel the Press Conference that was scheduled for this afternoon at Le Bourget from 15 h to 17h. The second Interim Report's availability on our website has been brought forward to midday today. A Press Conference will be organised on Tuesday 22 December from 14h to 15h30 in order to answer any questions from journalists.

  • Press release, 17 June 2009

    During the third Press Conference that was held on 17 June on the progress of the investigation into the accident to flight AF 447, the BEA presented the sea search operations that are under way. It contains a map of the locations of the airplane debris, including the fin, that were recovered from the surface of the sea. This debris field corresponds to a relatively small area with a drift towards the north.

    A targeted undersea search area has been established based on the position of the parts recovered – more than four hundred items have been referenced – and on the flight path of the airplane reconstituted from data transmitted by the ACARS. Exploration began on Wednesday 11 June with an increase in the means deployed until 16 June 2009.

    During this press conference, the few validated facts available at this time were set out and detailed:

    • The airplane was in cruise at flight level 350 (about 10,500 metres).
    • No messages indicating problems were received on the air traffic control radio frequencies.
    • Close to the planned route of the airplane above the Atlantic there were significant convective cells characteristic of the equatorial regions;
    • The last position message from the airplane was broadcast by the ACARS automatic system at 2 h 10 UTC.
    • Between 2 h 10 and 2 h 14 UTC, 24 maintenance messages were transmitted by the ACARS, including 14 between 2 h 10 and 2 h 11.
    • Analysis of these messages shows inconsistencies between the various speeds measured. Most of the messages appear to result from these inconsistencies; they correspond to the loss of several flight assistance systems.
    • 49 bodies were recovered between 6 and 11 June 2009.
  • Press release on 17 May 2011

    According to an article that appeared in « Le Figaro » on the evening of Monday 16 May 2011, the « first elements extracted from the black boxes» would exonerate Airbus in the accident to the A330, flight AF 447, which killed 216 passengers and 12 crew members on 1st June 2009.

    Sensationalist publication of non-validated information, whilst the analysis of the data from the flight recorders has only just started, is a violation of the respect due to the passengers and the crew members that died and disturbs the families of the victims, who have already suffered as a result of many hyped-up stories.

    The BEA repeats that, in the framework of its mission as a safety investigation authority, it alone has the right to communicate on the progress of the investigation. Consequently, any information on the investigation that comes from another source is null and void if it has not been validated by the BEA.

    Collection of all of the information from the audio recordings and from the flight parameters now gives us a high degree of certainty that everything will be brought to light concerning this accident.

    The BEA safety investigators will now have to analyse and validate a large quantity of complex data. This is long and detailed work, and the BEA has already announced that it will not publish an interim report before the summer.

    At this stage of the investigation, no conclusions can be drawn.

  • Press Release 18 June 2012

    The BEA will publish the Final Report on the Safety Investigation on Thursday 5 July 2012. A media presentation will take place at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace in Le Bourget at 2.30 pm.

    Journalists who wish to participate in this event are invited to confirm their presence, preferably by email, by the evening of Thursday 28 June 2012.

    The following information is required in order to obtain accreditation:

    • family and first name,
    • media organisation represented,
    • press card number,
    • mobile phone number,
    • email address, and, where applicable:
    • family, first name and status of those accompanying,
    • registration numbers of any vehicles that will be parked in the vicinity of the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace.

    The BEA is the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority.

    Its investigations are conducted with the sole objective of improving aviation safety and are not intended to apportion blame or liability. 

    BEA investigations are independent, separate and conducted without prejudice to any judicial or administrative action that may be taken to determine blame or liability.


    Martine Del (0)1 49 92 72 67
    Pauline (0)1 49 92 74 20
    Mathieu (0)1 49 92 72 01
  • Press release, 19 April 2011

    The cable vessel Ile de Sein, operated by Alcatel-Lucent and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, is leaving the port of Las Palmas (Canary Islands) today to reach the port of Dakar by Friday 22 April. A Remora 6000 ROV and its team of operators from Phoenix International Inc are on board. A port call of a few hours in Dakar is scheduled in order to embark the investigation team before it leaves for the search area. 

    This team, directed by Investigator-in-Charge Alain Bouillard, assisted by three BEA Safety Investigators, will be made up of:

    • A Safety Investigator from AAIB (British equivalent of the BEA) ;
    • A Safety Investigator from CENIPA (Brazilian equivalent of the BEA) ;
    • Three experts from Airbus ;
    • An expert from Air France ;
    • An American specialist in sonar imagery who participated in phase 4 of the sea searches;
    • A psychologist.

    On board the vessel there will also be four Officers from the French Judicial Police, assisted by three specialists from the French Gendarmerie institute of criminal research (IRCGN).

    Phase 5 will begin with detailed observation of the accident site and the search for the flight recorders. Once the latter are found, they will be lifted onboard the Ile de Sein and immediately placed under seal. They will then be transported by a French Navy vessel to a French port, and then sent by air to the BEA under the responsibility of an Officer of the Judicial Police.

    During this time, parts from the aircraft that may prove to be useful to the investigation will be recovered.

    The BEA reminds you that the retrieval of any bodies and personal effects is placed under the responsibility of the representatives of the judicial authorities.

    Information to the media, 19 April 2011

    Due to time constraints and the uncertainties inherent in maritime operations, it is difficult at this stage to be able to set out a clear schedule for media briefings in relation to the A330 AF 447 recovery operations.

    The BEA will do its best to ensure that video footage of the ship and its equipment in Dakar will be provided to the media as soon as possible after the ship's departure. This video footage will be available from ECPA-D via SERT/Globecast.

    IMPORTANT: Journalists who would nevertheless like to travel to Dakar, need to contact the port authorities directly in order to obtain an entry pass to the port.

  • Press release, 19 March 2010

    The « Anne Candies » is now expected in the port at Recife on 24 March.

    As announced on 15 March, the BEA will hold a press conference before the departure of the ships to the search zone. This will take place in the presence of the teams of investigators and those involved in the sea and undersea search operation on Thursday 25 March from 14 h to 16 h in Recife in the port administrative buildings in the port area (main port entrance).

    Journalists who wish to attend are requested to confirm their presence with Martine Del Bono at the latest by 23 March.

    Following this press conference, a media pool will be able to go on board Phoenix International's « Anne Candies » and the « Seabed Worker » to film the equipment of the US Navy and Geomar, Seabed and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

  • Press release 20 August 2009

    The second phase of the undersea search operations for the flight recorders from the Airbus A 330 that disappeared on 1st June 2009 has just been completed. The Pourquoi pas? is expected at Dakar today.

    The work, undertaken with the assistance of IFREMER and SHOM, allowed completion of the exploration of the search area that had been defined after the accident, a circle with a radius of 75 km centred on the last position message transmitted by the airplane at 2h10.

    Bathymetry of the ocean floor was also performed over a wider perimeter.

    As the searches did not make it possible to locate the airplane wreckage, the BEA will gather together a team of international investigators in the next few weeks to analyze the data collected with a view to a third search phase and to determine the requirements and means to undertake this.

  • Press release, 23 June 2009

    No signals transmitted by the flight recorders' locator beacons have been validated up to now. In the context of the sea searches that are under way, work is undertaken on a regular basis that is aimed at eliminating any doubts related to any sounds that may be heard, and any findings will be made public.

  • Press release 25 July 2011

    The third BEA Interim Report will be published on Friday 29 July 2011.

    This report will present the exact circumstances of the accident with an initial analysis and some new findings based on the data recovered from the flight recorders.

    At the same time, a press briefing will be organised at the BEA at 14 h 30.

    Accreditation: journalists who wish to attend this press briefing must confirm their presence by the evening of Wednesday 27 July, preferably by email to or

    Media contact: Martine Del Bono - +331 4992 7267 –

  • Press release 25 June 2009

    Dans le cadre de la publication d'un premier rapport factuel sur l'accident survenu le 1er juin 2009 à l'A 330-200, immatriculé F-GZCP, le BEA tiendra un point presse dans ses locaux au Bourget le jeudi 2 juillet de 15 h à 17 h.

    Les journalistes qui souhaitent y assister sont priés de confirmer leur présence auprès de Martine Del Bono.

  • Press release 30 July 2009

    The Ifremer oceanographic ship "Pourquoi pas?" is currently on site in the area for the second phase of the search for the flight recorders from AF 447. Work to survey the ocean floor has begun in the area considered to be the most likely, with the aid of a side-scan sonar device and the Victor 6000 ROV and Nautile submarine. The flight recorders' locator beacons having now ceased transmitting, the next step is to identify the place where the airplane wreckage is located, then to search for the recorders.

    The BEA recognizes Airbus' commitment to participate financially in a continuation of the search if a third phase, over a wider area, appears to be necessary.

  • Press release, May 30 2012

    The BEA will publish the Final Report of the safety investigation on Thursday, 5 July, 2012 and at the same time will hold a press briefing.

    Note to the media: information on accreditation and registration will be provided in the coming weeks.

    Contact : Martine Del Bono – 01 49 92 72 67 –

  • Press release, 30 September 2011

    The BEA notes that, on a recurrent basis, working documents relating to ongoing safety investigations, containing non-validated information and covered by professional secrecy, have been divulged to the media, with aims other than those of improving aviation safety.

    Because of this, the BEA takes this opportunity to remind those involved that:

    • the sole objective of safety investigations is to establish the precise circumstances and determine the causes of accidents or incidents and to draw safety lessons from this;
    • a safety investigation involves long and rigorous work that results in the publication of a final report.

    Biased, erroneous information, taken out of context and provided to journalists while the investigation has not been completed, gives rise to interpretation and speculation that can only upset the public and create controversy among those involved. 

    The BEA reminds those concerned that it alone is authorised to release information on an investigation that it has launched following an accident of incident.

  • 1st May 2011 briefing

    The investigation team localized and identified the memory unit from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) at 10 h UTC this morning. It was raised and lifted on board the ship Ile de Sein by the Remora 6000 ROV at 16h40 UTC.






  • Information, 2 April 2010

    The « Anne Candies » this morning joined the « Seabed Worker », which arrived in the search zone yesterday.

    The undersea searches have begun. Further information on these will be released before the end of next week.

  • 2nd May 2011 briefing

    The Remora 6000 made a further dive yesterday evening. The search operations are continuing in order to localize the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

    After the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was raised, the BEA, as agreed, asked the French Navy to send a patrol boat to transport the recorders to Cayenne (French Guyana), from where they will be transferred by airplane to the BEA in Le Bourget.

    The BEA Investigator-in-Charge, an officer from the French judicial police and an investigator from CENIPA (the Brazilian equivalent of the BEA) will be present during the transfer from the Ile de Sein to the BEA, which should take around ten days.

    At present, there are 69 people on board the ship, an officer from the Brazilian Navy having joined last Friday (29 April).



  • Information, 3rd May 2011 briefing

    The investigation team localized and identified the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) at 21h50 UTC on Monday 2 May, 2011. It was raised and lifted on board the Ile de Sein by the Remora 6000 ROV at 02 h 40 UTC this morning, on Tuesday 3rd May, 2011.




  • Information 7 December 2009

    The BEA has launched an investigation into the event that occurred during flight AF 445 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, during the night of 29 November 2009, to the A330-203 operated by Air France. An analysis of this event is likely to throw some additional light on the accident on 1st June 2009 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris to the A330-203, flight AF 447.

  • Information, 7 June 2011 briefing

    The operations on board the Ile de Sein came to an end on the afternoon of Friday 3 June. The vessel is on its way to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) for demobilisation on 9 June.

    In the course of next week, it will arrive in the port of Bayonne (south-west France), from where the airplane parts will be transferred to a hangar belonging to the DGA Techniques aéronautiques in Toulouse and the human remains taken to a forensic mortuary.

  • Information, 7 September 2011

    The BEA has just formed the « Human Factors » working group whose creation was announced at the time of the publication of the third Interim Report on the investigation into the accident to the Rio-Paris flight on 1st June 2009. 

    This working group’s objective is to analyze all aspects connected to the conduct of the flight:

    • Crew actions and reactions during the last three phases of the flight described in the third Interim Report, in particular in relation to the stall warning;
    • Cockpit ergonomics;
    • Man-machine interfaces.

    This working group is made up of seven experts:

    • Three BEA investigators specializing in human factors;
    • A psychiatrist specializing in risk analysis;
    • A human factors aviation consultant;
    • A type-rated A330 pilot;
    • An A330 test pilot.

    The BEA may call on other experts from time to time and will consult Airbus and Air France when required.

    The group’s work will begin very soon and should be completed by the end of December 2011. Its thinking will take into account input from both the «Operations» and the «Airplane Systems» groups.

    All of the work carried out will be included in the Final Report, which will establish the causes of the accident, whose publication is planned for the first half of 2012.

  • Update on sea searches on 7 April 2010

    Since the sea searches began on 2 April:

      • Orion, a towed sonar on board the « Anne Candies », has covered 600 km2;
      • The three Remus autonomous underwater vehicles on board the « Seabed Worker » have made nine dives and covered an area of nearly 800 km2.

    The meteorological situation in the zone has allowed the crews to work in good conditions.

     zone de recherche


  • Information, 9 May 2011 briefing

    The French Navy patrol boat La Capricieuse reached the search vessel the Ile de Sein on Saturday 7 May during the morning.

    It is currently sailing towards the port of Cayenne with the flight recorders, under judicial seal, on board. Also on board are the Investigator-in-Charge, an investigator from CENIPA, the Brazilian equivalent of the BEA, and an Officer of the French judicial police. 

    The patrol ship should reach Cayenne by the morning of Wednesday 11 May. The flight recorders will then be transported to the BEA by plane.

    Recovery of airplane parts has continued over the past few days, with one engine and the avionics bay, containing onboard computers, having been raised.  

    Patrouilleur P400, La Capricieuse

    Patrouilleur P400, La Capricieuse

    Patrouilleur P400, La Capricieuse

    Patrouilleur P400, La Capricieuse



    the avionics bay

    The avionics bay

    the avionics bay

    The avionics bay


  • Information, 10 May 2011 briefing

    The flight recorders will be transported to the BEA during the morning of Thursday 12 May 2011. A press briefing will be organised on the BEA's premises at Le Bourget from 10 h to 12h.

    At the briefing Jean-Paul Troadec, the director of the BEA, will be accompanied by Alain Bouillard, Investigator-in-Charge of the safety investigation and Christophe Menez, head of the engineering department.

    Mr Philippe Vinogradoff, special representative to the AF 447 families of the victims will be present.

    The representatives of the judicial authorities, will also be present at the press briefing. Mr. Jean-Claude Marin, Prosecutor in Paris Court, or his representative, Colonel François Daoust, head of the French forensic institute (IRCGN) and Xavier Mulot, head of the judicial investigation unit of the French Gendarmerie.

    Accreditation: Journalists who wish to attend this press briefing must confirm their attendance by midday onWednesday 11 May by email to

  • Information, 11 March 2010

    Administrative and technical difficulties on departure from the United States, together with unfavourable meteorological conditions, are delaying the arrival of the « Anne Candies » in the port of Recife (Brazil), where it should join the « Seabed Worker » before sailing to the zone to undertake the search for the wreckage of the A 330. The beginning of the sea search operations has been put back accordingly.

    The BEA will release further information on Monday 15 March 2010.

  • Update on the sea searches as of 12 May 2010

    Exploration of the new search zone, which resulted from work undertaken by the French Navy, has continued at a speed that has been hampered by technical problems, which occurred during the dives carried out by the two Remus (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles).

    After ensuring optimal coverage of the entire exploration zone, the BEA has decided to start searching again in the initial search zone located to the north-west of the last known airplane position. The Seabed Worker should reach the zone tonight.

    zone de recherche

    However, the BEA, in collaboration with teams from the French Navy, will continue to work on the accuracy of the data communicated by the Ministry of Defense.

    The BEA will give a further update on the situation with a press release on Monday 17 May 2010.

  • Update on the sea searches as of 14 April 2010

    Since the beginning of the searches on 2 April:

    • The Orion, a towed sonar from the « Anne Candies », has covered over 1,350 km2 ;
    • The three Remus autonomous underwater vehicles (UAV) from the « Seabed Worker » has carried out twenty dives and covered a zone of almost 1,700 km2.

    The aforementioned areas include the zones outside of the initial search zone, covered for operational reasons, and zones that overlap between the various sonars.

    Progress was slowed on the afternoon of Friday 9 April due to the loss of the signal from one of the Remus. The latter had surfaced during the night of Saturday to Sunday and was later recovered 100 km away in the north-east of the zone. During the time the search for the Remus was under way, the Anne Candies team continued operations with the Orion.

    Despite heavy rain and stormy periods, the meteorological situation in the zone enabled the team to continue to work in good conditions.

    zone de recherche

  • Information, 14 March 2011

    This is to inform you that a media advisory will take place on the harbor of Suape on Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 11:30 AM sharp after the arrival of the Vessel Alucia into Suape next weekend.

    During the media advisory you will have the opportunity to visit the Alucia, make video recordings of the Remus as well as conduct interviews with Dave Gallo, Director of special projects and Mike Purcell, Expedition Leader, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Jean-Paul Troadec, Director of the BEA , the safety authority in charge of the investigation into the accident of Airbus A330 – AF Flight 447 will be meeting with the search team in Suape.


    In order to gain access to both the Harbor and Vessel, you need to request accreditation. Please send the following information to before Thursday, March 17th:

    Full Name - Birth date - Country of Citizenship - Passport Number

    Transportation: a shuttle will be scheduled to transfer you from Recife to Suape and back to Recife.

    Meeting point: French General Consulate – Consulado Gerald a França

    Edificio João Roma, 6°Andar - Boa Viagem

    51020-020 Recife – PE -

    Time of departure from the French General Consulate: 10 AM sharp

    map to the consulate of France

    On arrival of the shuttle in Suape the Authorities of the harbor will deliver a pass to the accredited journalists.

  • Information, 15 March 2010

    The arrival of the « Anne Candies » from the United States has been delayed, as the BEA announced in a previous release. Arrival in Recife is now planned around 24 March, depending on the sea conditions encountered. It will join the « Seabed Worker » there. 

    A stopover is planned for the transfer of the equipment transported by the « Anne Candies » onto the « Seabed Worker », and to take on fuel.

    During this short stopover, the BEA will hold a press conference in the presence of the teams of investigators and those involved in the sea and undersea search operations.

    Given the uncertainties surrounding the date of arrival of the « Anne Candies » and the length of the stopover, the date of this press conference cannot be set until Friday 19 March at the earliest.

  • Information, 16 May 2011 briefing

    Following operations to open, extract, clean and dry the memory cards from the flight recorders, BEA Safety Investigators were able to download the data over the weekend.

    These operations were filmed and recorded in their entirety. This was done in the presence of two German investigators from BFU, an American investigator from NTSB, two British investigators from AAIB and two Brazilian investigators from CENIPA, as well as an officer from the French judicial police and a court expert.

    These downloads gathered all of the data from the Flight Data recorder (FDR), as well as the whole recording of the last two hours of the flight from the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

    In the framework of the safety investigation directed by the BEA, all of this data will now be subjected to detailed in-depth analysis.

    This work will take several weeks, after which a further interim report will be written and then published during the summer.

  • Update on the sea searches as of 17 May 2010

    As the zone defined by the French Navy has been explored, the initial search programme has been resumed with the return of the Seabed Worker, during the night of 12 May, to the zone located north-west of the last known airplane position.

    Since this time, the two Remus autonomous underwater vehicles have managed to cover over 500 km2 during six dives.

    The meteorological situation in the zone has made it possible to continue the searches in good conditions.

    No debris from the wreckage has been localised to date.

    zone de recherche

  • Update on the sea searches as of 22 April 2010

    Since the beginning of the searches on 2 April:

    • Orion, the towed sonar based on the « Anne Candies », has covered 2 800 km2 ;
    • The three Remus, autonomous underwater vehicles based on the « Seabed Worker » have made forty dives and covered an area of around 3 000 km2.

    The meteorological conditions in the search zone have been favourable.

    The initial search zone will have been entirely covered by the end of the week. The Seabed Worker and the Anne Candies will return to port at Recife for a technical stopover in the next few days.

    After an evaluation of the situation, the BEA will issue a further review on Tuesday 4 May.

    zone de recherche

  • Information, 25 May 2011 briefing

    The BEA has decided to publish a note with information on the first facts established, based on analysis of the data from the flight recorders. This note will be put on line on Friday 27 May at the beginning of the afternoon and will be available in English, French, German and Portuguese. There will be no press briefing.

  • Information, 26 April 2011

    ile de Sein

    The cable vessel Ile de Sein operated by Alcatel-Lucent and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, which arrived in Dakar at 10h UTC on Friday 22 April, left the port at 18h20 UTC the same day, with 68 people on board, including the crew of the ship. It arrived in the accident zone this morning at 05h00 UTC.

    During the crossing, a series of meetings took place to review the organisation and objectives of phase 5, the technical specifications of the Remora 6000 and the safety measures on board. Those present included the crew, the nine ROV operators and technicians from Phoenix International and the investigation teams. 

    Under the direction of the BEA Investigator-in-Charge, two working groups were formed in order to:

    • continue the analysis and interpretation of photos taken by the Remus during the previous phase, in particular of the aft elements of the wreckage so as to be able to localize the flight recorders,
    • study the operational procedures aimed at recovering the airplane's flight recorders, computers and parts.

    A first operational dive by the Remora 6000 began this morning.

  • Information, 27 April 2011

    During the first dive by the Remora 6000, which lasted over twelve hours, the chassis of the airplane's Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was found, though without the Crash Survivable Memory Unit (CSMU) that contains the data. It was surrounded by debris from other parts of the airplane.

    The searches are continuing. A second dive by the Remora 6000 began this morning.


    FDR with module

  • Information, 27 May 2011 briefing

    Faced with the regular disclosure of partial and often approximate information since 16 May, the BEA wished to publish this note so as to inform the families of the victims and the public about the first facts established, based on analysis of the data from the flight recorders, which started on 14 May for the FDR and 15 May for the CVR.

    This note describes in a factual manner the chain of events that led to the accident and presents newly established facts. The initial analyses will be developed in a further interim report that is scheduled to be published towards the end of July.

    Only after long and detailed investigative work will the causes of the accident be determined and safety recommendations issued, this being the main mission of the BEA. The latter will be included in the final report.

  • Information, 29 April 2011

    The search for the CVR and the FDR memory unit are continuing, exploring the airplane debris field with the ROV. New parts have been identified, such as the Auxiliary Power Unit which is situated at the aft of the airplane.


    The forward and aft parts of the airplane are broken apart and mixed up, which means that a time-consuming systematic search is required.

    No lifting operations have yet been undertaken as priority has been given to the search for the flight recorders.