Even as the French government gets ready to launch another attempt to find the wreckage of flight 447, a French magistrate has moved ahead and issued an indictment against , maker of the -200 involved in the 2009 accident.
The move is not unusual for French judicial proceedings in the wake of a crash, particularly a high-profile incident such as the loss of the Airbus A330 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in which all 228 onboard died. French judicial authorities frequently pursue their own course of action independent of the air accident investigation.
Airbus is confirming the judicial step has been taken against the company. In a statement, Airbus CEO Tom Enders says that “have noted the absence of facts supporting this step and stated our strong disagreement. Airbus maintains that the focus should be on finding the cause of this accident and making sure it can never happen again. Airbus will continue to support the investigation, including the continued search for the flight recorders, which is the only sure way to know the truth.”
The French air accident investigation office, the BEA, is awaiting the outcome of the fifth search to detect more wreckage and possibly locate cockpit voice and flight data recorders. No timeline has been set for when a final report will now be issued. It was due last year, but political pressure to continue searching for the so called black boxes has slowed progress.
So far, the BEA is having to rely on a series of data messages transmitted by the A330 before all contact was lost. They signal a string of system failures while flying through a storm. Although the data, as well as wreckage found immediately after the crash, have helped to identify potential contributing factors that led to the crash – including possible pitot tube icing – investigators still do not appear to have a clear picture of the entire sequence of events that could explain the loss of the airliner.