Brazilian news service reports contradiction in plane impact findings. Was the plane intact when it crashed?
Sao Paulo / Associated Press/ Thu-Jun 18, 2009
'Autopsies have revealed fractures in the legs, hips and arms of Air France disaster victims, injuries that — along with the large pieces of wreckage pulled from the Atlantic — strongly suggest the plane broke up in the air, experts said on Wednesday.
With more than 400 bits of debris recovered from the ocean's surface, the top French investigator expressed optimism about discovering what brought down Flight 447, but he also called the conditions — far from land in very deep waters — "one of the worst situations ever known in an accident investigation."
French investigators are beginning to form "an image that is progressively less fuzzy," Paul-Louis Arslanian, who runs the French air accident investigation agency BEA, told a news conference outside Paris.
"We are in a situation that is a bit more favorable than the first days," Arslanian said. "We can say there is a little less uncertainty, so there is a little more optimism. ... (but) it is premature for the time being to say what happened."
A spokesman for Brazilian medical examiners told The Associated Press on Wednesday that fractures were found in autopsies on an undisclosed number of the 50 bodies recovered so far. The official spoke on condition he not be named due to department rules.
"Typically, if you see intact bodies and multiple fractures — arm, leg, hip fractures — it's a good indicator of a midflight break up," said Frank Ciacco, a former forensic expert at the US National Transportation Safety Board. "Especially if you're seeing large pieces of aircraft as well."
The pattern of fractures was first reported on Wednesday by Brazil's O Estado de S Paulo newspaper, which cited unnamed investigators. The paper also reported that some victims were found with little or no clothing, and had no signs of burns.
That lack of clothing could be significant, said Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, DC, who is a former accident investigator. "In an in-air break up like we are supposing here, the clothes are just torn away."
Casey also said multiple fractures are consistent with a midair breakup of the plane, which was cruising at about 34,500 feet (10,500 meters) when it went down.
"Getting ejected into that kind of windstream is like hitting a brick wall — even if they stay in their seats, it is a crushing effect," Casey said. "Most of them were long dead before they hit the water would be my guess."
When a jet crashes into water mostly intact — such as the Egypt Air plane that hit the Atlantic Ocean after taking off from New York in 1999 — debris and bodies are generally broken into small pieces, Ciacco said. "When you've had impact in the water, there is a lot more fragmentation of the bodies. They hit the water with a higher force."
Lack of burn evidence would not necessarily rule out an explosion, said John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board.
If something caused the lower fuselage to burn or explode, "passengers would not be exposed to any blast damage" and the plane would still disintegrate in flight," Goglia said. "These are scenarios that cannot be ruled out." '
News X- Sao Paulo
Now notice the French version of events:
AF 477 hit the sea belly first: French investigators Le Bourget(France) / Associated Press/Fri-Jul 03, 2009
Air France Flight 447 slammed into the Atlantic Ocean, intact and belly first, at such a high speed that the 228 people aboard probably had no time to even inflate their life jackets, French investigators have said in their first report into the June 1 accident.
Likening the investigation to a puzzle with missing pieces, lead investigator Alain Bouillard on Thursday said that one month after the crash, "we are very far from establishing the causes of the accident."
Maybe there's more to this than we're being told
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." Romans 13:12