France Begins 4th Quest to Find Missing Air France Plane

According to The Associated Press, the French government has begun a new search for the wreckage of Air France flight 447 making it the fourth such attempt since the plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean nearly two years ago.

The current search will cover 3,900 square miles off the northeastern coast of Brazil and is scheduled to last into July. So far, search crews have been unable to find the wreckage as they attempt to recover the black box recorder which should provide clues into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the crash.

David Gallo, a director of special projects at Woods Hole who is leading the search, said that only a small percentage of the area has ever been explored, making the search even more difficult, though he is confident that if the wreckage is in the target area, it will be found.

Air France and Airbus are financing the estimated $12.5 million cost of the new search, French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said last month when announcing the new search. About $28 million has already been spent on the three previous searches for the jet’s wreckage.

Flight 447 crashed on June 1, 2009 while flying through a thunderstorm over the Atlantic Ocean during a flight from Rio De Janeiro to Paris. Shortly before crashing, the plane, an Airbus A330, sent out false air speed readings but most experts agree that such false readings are likely a smaller part of a much bigger picture behind the cause of the crash.

The new search comes only a few days after a French judge brought preliminary charges of manslaughter against Air France and Airbus, maker of the A330, but without a better understanding of the circumstances which led to the crash, it will be difficult to prove the ultimate cause unless the wreckage and flight recordings can be recovered.

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