Brazilian air force finds plane debris

Debris, including plane seats, were spotted on Tuesday about 650km north-east of Brazil following the disappearance of Air France aircraft with 228 people on board.

Laurent Mathou, the commander of the French air force base in Dakar, said that the weather on Monday, when the plane on a flight from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris disappeared, was bad because of an intertropical front ”with a cloudy zone that was very very stormy”.

The Air France plane reported flying into heavy turbulence four hours after taking off from Rio and 15 minutes later it generated automatic messages reporting electrical faults.

No distress signal was received and aviatio experts said they did not have enough information to understand how flight AF 447 could have disappeared without a trace.

”All scenarios have to be envisaged,” said French Defence Minister Herve Morin on Europe 1 radio.

”We can’t rule out a terrorist act since terrorism is the main threat to Western democracies, but at this time we don’t have any element whatsoever indicating that such an act could have caused this accident,” Morin added.

Flight AF 447 was carrying 216 passengers of 32 nationalities, including seven children and one baby. Sixty-one were French citizens, 58 Brazilian and 26 German. There was also a South African on board. Twelve crew members were also on board.

SA man identified
The South African national was identified on Tuesday.

Erich Heine was born in South Africa and worked for German steel giant Thyssenkrupp, reported Eye Witness News.

Company officials confirmed he was on board the flight when it went missing on Monday morning.

ArcelorMittal spokesperson Sven Lunsche said Heine was a senior manager at the company for several years.

‘He ran our Vanderbijlpark plant and then before that he ran the Newcastle operation and he was one of our youngest managers and joined us in 1991,” the website quoted Lunsche as saying.

French electrical equipment firm CGED said 10 of its staff, all from south-western France, were on the missing plane with their partners after winning a trip to Brazil in the company’s annual sales contest.

Distraught relatives of the flight’s passengers were assisted by teams of psychologists in Paris and Rio.

An Air France spokesperson said on Monday that a lightning strike could be to blame for the disaster, but a South African commercial pilot told the Mail & Guardian Online on Tuesday that such a strike on a plane could not explain the loss of the aircraft.

”I’ve been subjected to lightning strikes and the worst that it can do is affect instruments on the plane and perhaps cause those struments to blow up, and not necessarily the plane itself. A bird strike is more catastrophic than lightning, but this is absurd because birds can’t fly at 30 000 feet,” said the pilot, who has over 30 years’ experience.

The pilot, who cannot be named for professional reasons, said that the sudden decompression of the cabin was another possibility.

This would be caused by something like a ”door that hasn’t been properly fixed and as a result, flies off during flight causing people to get sucked out”.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Agencies Author
Guest Author
Boyd Webb
Guest Author

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

G is for glamour, not garage shop

Pantry by Marble is disrupting the forecourt shop status quo by offering restaurant-quality services on site

If the state won’t deal with civil war criminals, then...

Liberia decided not to prosecute anyone for crimes committed during its first and second civil wars. Now, one organisation is documenting and aiding prosecution outside the country

Home Suite Hotel: A hidden gem in Sea Point

Founded by the man behind LIFT Airlines, Gidon Novick, Home Suite Hotel knows a thing or two about curating a fresh experience on an old concept.

Latest design and foodie trends at Durban Home Garden Show

The event celebrates 40 years of the city’s design scene. The 2022 edition brings together fashion folk, beer culture, architecture and greenery, while giving visitors their cultural fix
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×