Alps crash families await answers

p31491UK-News-3-1

Published: Thursday 26th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

The families of the Britons on board the doomed Germanwings flight face an agonising wait for answers to what caused the “inexplicable” crash.

Experts have recovered one black box, the cockpit voice recorder, which they hope may shed light on the lead up to the mystery crash, while the second black box, the flight data recorder, has yet to be found.

The investigation will likely centre on why there was no distress call from the plane, which went into a slow descent even though it was in a mountainous area and theories include the complete incapacity of the cockpit crew, possibly after a windscreen blow-out.

While investigators would not reveal the conversations recorded on the black box, reports suggested the audio indicated one of the pilots may have been locked out of the cockpit.

The New York Times quoted a senior military source involved in the probe as saying: “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

But while a spokesman for the French air investigation bureau, the BEA, said that “usable” material had been extracted from the cockpit voice recorder covering the entire flight, he would not give details of conversations, if any, between the pilots.

Asked about reports that the second black box – the flight data recorder which indicates how an aircraft’s systems were working – had been found but was too badly damaged to be of use, the spokesman said this was not the case.

“We have not located the second black box,” he said.

Earlier, Germanwings parent company Lufthansa said the plane, piloted by two experienced captains, was “technically flawless”, while the firm’s CEO Carsten Spohr, himself a pilot, described the crash as “inexplicable”.

Lufthansa said: “We cannot comprehend how a technically flawless airplane steered by two experienced pilots could encounter such a situation at cruising altitude.

“All of us at Lufthansa are working to ensure that such an incident will never occur again. We cannot believe that this has happened. We are doing everything to support the families.”

A spokesman for the French air investigation bureau, the BEA, said that “usable” material had been extracted from the black box cockpit voice recorder found at the crash site, in the French Alps.

He said it covered the entire flight but would not say what conversations, if any, between the pilots had been captured on the recording, nor what language they had been conducted in.

Asked about reports that the second black box – the flight data recorder which indicates how an aircraft’s systems were working – had been found but was too badly damaged to be of use, the spokesman said this was not the case.

“We have not located the second black box,” he said.

Meanwhile, t he families of three Britons killed in the French Alps plane disaster have spoken of their devastating loss.

Those who died in the Germanwings’ Airbus A320 crash included seven-month-old Julian Pracz-Bandres from Manchester who was killed alongside his mother Marina Bandres Lopez Belio, 37, originally from Spain.

Another of the Britons to lose their lives was senior quality manager Martyn Matthews, 50, from Wolverhampton who worked at Tipton in the West Midlands.

A third Briton on the Barcelona to Dusseldorf flight was Paul Bramley, 28, who was originally from Hull and was studying hotel management in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Announcing that three Britons had died, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “We cannot rule out the possibility that there are further British people involved.

“The level of information on the flight manifest doesn’t allow us to rule out that possibility until we’ve completed some further checks.”

In the Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron offered his “deepest condolences” to those who had lost loved ones in the crash.

Ms Bandres Lopez Belio’s husband Pawel Pracz said she had been visiting her family in Spain for her uncle’s funeral and bought the tickets at the last moment.

He said in a statement released by the Foreign Office (FO): “I’m with my closest family in Manchester, and in close contact with our family in Spain at this very difficult time.

“We are devastated and would like to request that we be allowed to grieve in peace as a family without intrusion at this difficult time.”

An FO statement on behalf of Mr Bramley’s family said: ” Paul was originally from Hull. He was studying hospitality and hotel management at Ceasar Ritz College in Lucerne and about to start an internship on April 1.

“Paul had just finished his first year at the college and had taken a few days holiday with friends in Barcelona, before flying back to the UK via Dusseldorf to meet his family.”

Mr Bramley’s mother Carol lives in Majorca and is currently in the UK, having flown over to meet him.

She said: “Paul was a kind, caring and loving son. He was the best son, he was my world.”

Mr Bramley’s father Philip, who lives in Hull, said they were both deeply shocked and would miss him.

Ms Bandres Lopez Belio had been living in Manchester for seven years with Mr Pracz, both working in the film and video industry.

Mr Matthews had two grown-up children and his work at Tipton was for German automotive manufacturer Huf. He is thought to have been travelling to Germany for a business meeting.

Mr Matthews’ family said: “We are devastated at the news of this tragic incident and request that we are allowed to deal with this terrible news without intrusion at this difficult time.”

The three Britons were among 150 on the Airbus plane to have lost their lives.

While some nationalities were still to be verified, Germanwings said the dead included 72 Germans, 35 Spaniards and two Australians. Two Americans are also known to have been on the plane

Other countries with passengers on the flight included Iran, Israel, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Colombia.

Published: Thursday 26th March 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search