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Flight 447 Trial Begins


A long-awaited trial involving Air France and aerospace giant Airbus begins today, with prosecutors arguing the companies are liable for their role in the fatal crash of Flight 447 in 2009. Both firms face charges of manslaughter and negligence over the incident that killed 228 passengers and crew. The plane went down after taking off from Rio de Janeiro en route to Paris, making a fatal dive into the Atlantic Ocean a few hours after takeoff. The black boxes from the crash were recovered in 2011 from the ocean floor following an unprecedented search and recovery effort. Analysis subsequently found the crash arose from a cascade of technical problems combined with human error, beginning with storm conditions that interfered with external sensors and forced the autopilot system to disconnect. No individuals are liable under the charges—the maximum penalty would be a fine of around $220K for each firm. See a recreation of the flight's path here.

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