Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Search for Air France Flight 447

On June 1, 2009, Air France Flight 447 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft departed from Rio de Janeiro on 31 May 2009 at 19:03 local time (22:03 UTC), with a scheduled arrival in Paris, France approximately 11 hours later.

The last verbal contact with Flight 447 was at 01:33 UTC, when it was near waypoint INTOL located 565 km (351 mi) off Natal, in Brazil's north-eastern coast.

Although some bodies and debris were found floating on the ocean's surface, the actual plane itself - and/or its black box flight recorder - have never been found. There was no last-minute message from the crew of flight 447, and we have no idea exactly where it disappeared.

This week, a new search begins for the missing plane, using some of the latest high-tech underwater equipment. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will operate three unmanned deep-sea probes that, according to NPR:

"...run autonomously from any surface control tether and have the capability to dive down to full ocean depth... They were used in an unsuccessful underwater search for the plane that adventurer Amelia Earhart disappeared in 73 years ago. Each vehicle employs sea floor-scanning sonar, as well as cameras."