Air France jet crashed nose-up after four-minute fight to stay aloft

By Reuters
Friday, May 27, 2011 8:20 EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) – Pilots wrestled with the controls of an Air France airliner for more than four minutes before it plunged into the Atlantic with its nose up, killing all 228 people on board, French investigators said on Friday.

The 2009 emergency began with a stall warning two and a half hours into the Rio-Paris flight and shortly after the captain briefly left the cockpit at the start of a routine rest period.

The Airbus A330 jet climbed to 38,000 feet and then began a three and a half minute descent, rolling from left to right, with the youngest of three pilots handing control to the second most senior pilot one minute before the crash.

The timeline was given in a note by France’s BEA crash investigation authority, which said it was too early to give the causes of the crash ahead of a fuller report in the summer.

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