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article imageInvestigators believe flight AF447 may have broken apart mid-air

By Michael Cosgrove     Jun 13, 2009 in World
The examination of bodies found so far is leading to new speculation they did not hit the water with the plane. Elsewhere, Air France staff were ordered not to carry copies of the newspaper "Le Figaro" on planes, citing possible distress to passengers.
French daily Liberation has published reports from the Brazilian paper O Estado de Sao Paolo said to contain new declarations by crash investigators in which they say that “most of the bodies were not fully clothed, that which could indicate that their clothes were ripped off by wind.” It is known that bodies which fall from a height of thousands of feet can lose clothes as they fall.
The total number of bodies recovered so far is 50.
The bodies have already been described elsewhere as being relatively intact and are now being said to display several bone fractures on upper and lower body parts, which are “...a sign of polytraumism caused by (..their..) hitting the water at high speed" according to quoted sources. Terminal Velocity for a free-falling person is around 120 MPH, depending on wind conditions.
These elements are said to indicate a strong possibility that the plane broke up in midair.
Another declaration by the same sources claims that most of the bodies were found along two distinctly separate “lines” in the Ocean, at about 85 kilometers from each other. That would not have been possible if they had somehow been ejected from the plane upon hitting the water, that which is highly improbable in itself. If this separation distance is confirmed, it would be the most concrete evidence of breakup found to date.
Preliminary examination of the bodies is said to exclude, at least temporarily, their being exposed to fire or an explosion. Also, there are no signs of drowning, as the victims’ lungs were not filled with water.
Air France apparently ordered on Friday morning that no copies of Le Figaro’s Friday edition were to be embarked on the company’s flights. A telex, sent from the Air France Operations Control Centre (CCOAF) and reproduced here, reads;
“Hello,
Le Figaro
We ask you not to load today FIGARO edition
- on board AF flights
- at boarding gates
- in lounges"
Air France had been highly critical of recent Figaro coverage of the disaster, and notably its analyses of the possible role that AF447’s speed sensors may have played in the sequence of events leading to the crash. Those sensors are suspected of providing false speed data to the plane’s pilots.
In fact Air France went so far as to say that it would not hesitate to undertake court action against papers publishing articles that would, in its view, unfairly damage the airline’s reputation.
Although all airlines do not embark certain papers containing disturbing pictures or articles concerning plane crashes from time to time, the Friday edition of Le Figaro contained nothing of that nature.
This has led to press circles being convinced that the paper was being “punished” for its work.
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