Germanwings crash remains a mystery

(AGI) Rome, Mar 25 - The reason for the crash of theGermanwings Airbus 320 in the French Alps on Tuesday remains amystery. French air accident investigators BEA have alreadyextracted the data from one of the black boxes. Director RemyJouty said the audio file was useable and voices in the cockpitcould be heard. The other black box has been found, but itscontents - the flight data - have yet to be found. A mid-airexplosion has been ruled out, as the pieces of wreckage wouldhave been much larger. Depressurisation has also been ruledout.

(AGI) Rome, Mar 25 - The reason for the crash of theGermanwings Airbus 320 in the French Alps on Tuesday remains amystery. French air accident investigators BEA have alreadyextracted the data from one of the black boxes. Director RemyJouty said the audio file was useable and voices in the cockpitcould be heard. The other black box has been found, but itscontents - the flight data - have yet to be found. A mid-airexplosion has been ruled out, as the pieces of wreckage wouldhave been much larger. Depressurisation has also been ruledout. Some of the bodies have now been retrieved. The orange boxcontaining audio information from the cockpit (sounds, alarms,conversations between the pilots) was found at the crash siteon Wednesday afternoon and will be deciphered over the next fewweeks. While an initial transcript will be available within thenext few days, but could contain errors, an accurate transcriptwill take weeks. All the meteorological data relating to thetime of the crash has been examined, but contain no clues as towhat might have triggered the accident. Lufthansa CEO CarstenSpohr has said the plane was in perfect condition and that thetwo pilots were experienced. Another crash hypothesis is thatlithium batteries may have exploded. Aeronautics consultantBernard Chabbert said that lithium batteries in smartphones andlaptops could explode and has not ruled out the possibilitythat the flight battery in the cockpit could have caught fire.As they burn, the batteries emit highly toxic fumes, capable ofcausing death in around 10 seconds. This might explain thevarious unclear factors, such as the fact that the planedropped 10,000 metres in eight minutes, not a fall but adescent in a straight path at a normal rate. The radio silenceis also inexplicable - flight controllers tried three times insix minutes to make contact with the pilots, but no responsewas forthcoming. Moreover, the plane began to lose height only62 seconds after the pilots told the control tower that itsflight instructions had been received, and radio contact waslost. (AGI).