New developments in fatal Air France crash

Sunday, March 17, 2013

According to French magazine Le Point, crew of Air France flight AF447 (Rio de Janeiro-Paris) was suffering from serious sleep deprivation. The magazine stated that there are recordings from the cockpit on which the captain is clearly heard saying he had only had one hour of sleep. Other crew members are also said to have commenced the flight without having had a sufficient amount of rest. The lack of sleep may have played a deciding role in the flight's crash into the Atlantic, in which all 228 passengers were killed.

A single hour of sleep

Captain Marc Dubois's lack of sleep is evidenced by the cockpit recordings, on which he commented moments after takeoff that "I didn't sleep well last night. One hour just isn't enough."

His fatigue led the captain to take a short break after the flight had commenced. Unfortunately, the Airbus A330-200 happened to be in the middle of a tropical storm over the Atlantic at that particular moment.

Co-pilots Pierre-Cedric Bonin and David Robert were unable to regain control of the situation and decided to call Dubois back into the cockpit. Why it took Dubois more than a full minute to react adequately to the crisis remains unclear, but the fact that the co-pilots were unable to explain what exactly was happening certainly didn't help. The delayed response had major consequences, leading the aircraft to crash into the Atlantic a mere three minutes later.

Last year, researchers determined that the crash was caused by technical as well as human errors. It's quite possible, then, that the sleep deprivation the crew was suffering from may have played a key role in the crashing of Airbus A330.

Written by: Team Flight Delayed