Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And then there was none


I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the past day watching the reports of the Air France crash off the coast of Brazil. This one was about 400 miles off shore and went down where the ocean is over 14,000 feet deep. Of course that is where most of the evidence will end up. The mystery is that there was no mayday from the crew and the only indicators so far have been automatic maintenance messages to the Air France Maintenance Department via satellite. In other words there is nothing to go on. The experts are saying that lightening could not have brought down the plane. Newer planes (this one was four years old) have lightening arresting shields built into the fuselage that prevent the electrical charge from impacting the electronics or the plane. Also the stresses of severe turbulence are being discounted because the aircraft can withstand huge amounts of pounds per square inch on the fuselage without breaking up.

So we are left with martians? Or maybe a super bomb from a terrorist? Or a serious act of God? I for one will stay tuned. In the past few minutes reports have come in that the Brazilian Air Force has now found debris floating in the area believed to be the crash site. A life jacket and a piece of a metal seat bracket were spotted.

I spent most of my life as a police officer and I know that without strong evidence it will be very difficult to prove what happened. If the debris is recovered it can be examined for trace materials indicating an explosion or a particular event within the cabin of the aircraft. But of course this is hinged upon getting enough debris.

We all remember TWA 800 off the coast of Long Island. After a very long investigation it was proven that the pilot had switched the fuel tank and that is what caused the explosion in the fuel storage area. They believe that there was an electrical short in the internal fuel pump that set off the explosion. By the way most passenger cars today have electric fuel pumps in their gas tanks. I have yet to figure out how the keep them from blowing up the car as they operate.

By the way right now there were three Americans on board the Air France plane.

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