Widow of air crash victim still fighting for apology from airline (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Widow of air crash victim still fighting for apology from airline
THE WIDOW of a businessman killed in a 2009 Air France plane crash has said she is still fighting for an apology from the airline.
Speaking after the inquest into her husband Arthur Coakley’s death, Patricia Coakley said all the victims’ families deserved an apology but Air France had refused to give one.
The Air France flight 447, from Rio de Janeiro-Galeao airport in Brazil, bound for Charles de Gaulle in Paris, crashed in the North Atlantic Ocean just before 2.15am on June 1, 2009.
All 216 passengers and 12 crew on board died. The cause of death of those who underwent a post mortem was multiple injuries sustained in the impact of the aircraft with the ocean.
The inquest, held at Northallerton’s County Hall today (Tuesday, October 1) was conducted by Coroner Michael Oakley and referred to both Mr Coakley, 61, from Sandsend, near Whitby, and Neil Warrior, 48, from London.
French air accident investigators blamed mistakes by inadequately trained pilots and faulty equipment, and the report was read by Timothy Atkinson, a senior inspector at the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Investigators found that the aircraft’s pitot tubes, which use airflow to measure airspeed, had developed ice crystals causing airspeed indicators to fail and the autopilot to disengage.
From that point on, despite investigators referring to other incidents where this occurred and the crew was able to safely continue with their journey, pilots failed to maintain sufficient speed resulting in numerous stalls.
Mr Atkinson said the report found that one of the pilots misinterpreted what was happening and made a serious of wrong decisions – including the final fatal move which kept the nose up, instead of downwards, resulting in a loss of thrust.
Evidence from the French investigators showed that the pilots were not adequately trained to manually handle the aircraft at high altitude.
Mr Oakley, recording a narrative verdict, said: “The accident report highlights systemic failures and a lack of comprehension of the aircraft’s situation between the pilots during the flight.
“The air disaster highlights serious public concern of whether pilots are overly dependent on technology and are not retaining the skills required to properly fly complex commercial aircraft.”
Speaking afterwards, Mrs Coakley said she missed her late husband every day and still expects him to walk through the door.
She said: “It is an emotion that goes way back and it is still very difficult.
"We are fighting for an apology, everyone deserves an apology but they are refusing to give it.
"I spoke to Air France's lawyer and he ignored it. That's all we want, an apology."
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