Investigators have made a shocking discovery while analyzing the data from Air France Flight 447’s flight recorder: Pilot Marc Dubois was not in the cockpit when the incident that caused the flight to crash began. In the recordings, Dubois, 58, can be heard rushing into the cockpit after the trouble started and calling out instructions to his two co-pilots on how to save the plane, a source tells Der Spiegel. Those efforts, obviously, failed; four minutes after the problems began, the plane had crashed, killing all 228 aboard.
That revelation seems to support early reports that the plane crashed due to pilot, rather than mechanical failure. But the recorders also indicate that the plane behaved strangely. It appears clear that the speed sensors froze, at which point the plane turned steeply upward. That could have been caused by pilot error or by the onboard computers, which are programmed to take over in dangerous situations. Air France has also taken heat for not properly training its pilots on speed sensor failures. (Read more Air France Flight 447 stories.)