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Google Earth Plug-in: Air France Flight 447 crash site

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Air France Flight 447 was a scheduled commercial flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, that on 1 June 2009 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew members.

The aircraft, an Air France Airbus A330-200 registered as F-GZCP, took off on 31 May 2009 at 19:03 local time (22:03 UTC). The last contact with the crew was a routine message to Brazilian air traffic controllers at 01:33 UTC, as the aircraft approached the edge of Brazilian radar surveillance over the Atlantic Ocean, en-route to Senegalese-controlled airspace off the coast of West Africa. Forty minutes later, a four-minute-long series of automatic radio messages was received from the plane, indicating numerous problems and warnings. The exact meanings of these messages are still under investigation, but the aircraft is believed to have been lost shortly after it sent the automated messages.

On 6 June 2009, a search and rescue operation recovered two bodies and debris from the aircraft floating in the ocean 680 mi (1,090 km) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast. The debris included a briefcase containing an airline ticket, later confirmed to have been issued for the flight. On 27 June the search for bodies and debris was called off, having recovered 51 bodies.

This accident is the deadliest in the history of Air France, surpassing the crash of an Air France charter flight from Paris-Orly Airport to Atlanta on 3 June 1962, and the airline's first fatal crash since the Concorde Flight 4590 in July 2000. Paul-Louis Arslanian, the head of the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA, Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety), described it as the worst accident in French aviation history.

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