Chilling final words of pilot before Air France plane crashed into Atlantic killing 228
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Flight recordings from the cockpit of an Air France flight have revealed the final words of one of the pilots in charge of the plane when it crashed into the ocean.
There were 12 crew members and 216 passengers on board flight AF447 on 1 June 2009, all of whom were killed when it crashed while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
Today (17 April), a court in Paris ruled that Air France and Airbus were not guilty of manslaughter for the deaths of those on board.
The ruling comes after the flight's black box recorders were recovered after a two-year search, revealing that blocked pitot tubes, which measure fluid flow velocity, produced faulty data on board the flight.
Marc Dubois, 58, David Robert, 37, and Pierre-Cedric Bonin, 32, could be heard voicing their fears in the final recordings taken just before the plane crashed into the water.
“We’ve lost our speeds,” one of the pilots could be heard saying as indicators mistakenly showed a loss of altitude.
“I don’t know what’s happening."
The automatic pilot disconnected, leaving the three pilots on board in charge.
The crew held up the plane's nose, but this sent it into an aerodynamic stall. Dubois had been asleep at the time, and the co-pilots didn't recognise the stall and therefore didn't move to recover the mistake.
By the time he woke up, Dubois was unable to act quickly enough to save the plane.
"Let’s go! Pull up, pull up, pull up," Bonin could be heard saying in the recording, moments before the crash.
"F***, we're going to crash! It's not true! But what's happening?," Robert said.
It's unclear who spoke next, but they seemed to know their fate as they said: "F***, we're dead."
Families of victims from the plane have argued that Air France and Airbus were aware of icing problems with the pitot tubes, and that they had failed to replace them or train pilots on how to deal with issues.
Danièle Lamy, the head of the AF447 families’ association and mother of one of the victims, said: "What we are hoping for and expecting is that the court finally issues an impartial ruling and convicts Airbus and Air France, who are guilty of negligence and failings."
Both organisations have denied responsibility for the crash, instead blaming electronic alert systems which faulted and confused the pilots.