Accidents: Miraculous escape. Air France 2005. Toronto
Accidents: Miraculous escape. Air France 2005. Toronto

Katastory: Miraculous escape. Air France 2005. Toronto


            Tuesday. 2 August 2005 of the year. At the airport of Paris, 296 passengers climbed aboard the aircraft of the company "Air France". It was a flight 358, who flew to Toronto.


Passenger: My daughter and I were alone. She sat in front of us, next to the wing of the plane.


Holocaust: The miraculous rescue. Air France 2005. Toronto 2  While the passengers took their seats, the crew began to prepare Airbus A340 to fly. The commander was 57 years Alan Rosa. He worked in the company «Air France» already 20 years. His assistant was Frederick Nou. The pilots decided that Captain Rosa took off in Paris, and his assistant Nou land in Toronto. Pilots often partitioned between an obligation to assistants recruited more experience.


            Airbus A340 was one of the safest in the world. A few minutes before noon, the 358 flight soared into the sky over Paris. The flight from Paris to Toronto took approximately 8 hours. The plane was approaching Canada, and it seemed that nothing unusual could happen.


Passenger: service company was great, the food - excellent. On board were a lot of students from France.


            All the time the flight was wonderful weather. The sun was shining brightly, and white clouds floated across the sky. Autopilot did the main work of the pilots. The crew regularly received new weather reports. A new forecast reported possible heavy clouds and a thunderstorm in Toronto.


            A few hours later, a thunderstorm raged at Toronto International Airport. The management announced combat readiness. The probability of a lightning strike was so high that ground personnel were forbidden to work on airplanes. As they approached their destination, the 358 flight began circling over the airport. Airplane detained.


Passenger: I was very surprised when I heard the announcement commander that delayed planting.


            The reserve airport of the aircraft was located in Ottawa, at a distance of 300 kilometers. The tanks still had enough fuel to fly there.


Expert: Normally, the pilot has to think about the economic side of the flight to the alternate airport. But, nevertheless, the final decision is not him. Pilot only offers its own version. After all, if you change course, then how to deliver passengers to their original destination?


            The flight to Ottawa could turn into a nightmare in terms of logistics. At the same time, the crew could not endlessly circle in the air and wait for the weather to improve. After half an hour, the delay was canceled, and the plane began to descend to land. However, the weather has not improved. The ruthless summer storm was in full swing. Gusts of wind and lightning rumbled over the airport. This created difficulties for arriving aircraft. Including for flight 358. The pilots continued to descend right into a thunder cloud. Only a few minutes remained before landing, and the second pilot Nou tried to keep everything under control. Everything was getting darker. It seemed to the passengers that hundreds of lightning flashed around. Therefore, they are pretty nervous.


            Before the liner of the Air France company, two other aircraft had already landed on the same runway on which the 358 flight was planned. The crew was ordered to fly to the left lane of the 24. This allowed them to land in the wind. The 24 strip was also the closest to the city’s largest highway, where evening traffic jams had already gathered. Solving problems with unpredictable wind around the strip, the crew was preparing for landing.


Passenger: Last moments before landing were terrible. Turbulence was very high. You could feel the crew fought the plane, trying to hold it parallel to the runway. My kids are scared to death.


Passenger: I'm even more cemented his belt. Everyone was waiting for a very hard landing.


            On 16: 02, the 358 flight was able to land. But as soon as he leveled off on the strip, real hell began. The plane began to swing strongly up and down. A few seconds after landing, at a speed of 146 km / h, the airliner left the band.


Passenger: In the window I saw the red light of the flame. My daughter, who was sitting in front of us with horror turned to us. At that moment I thought that we all die. It was obvious that no one can survive it.


            Finally, having broken the landing gear, the plane stopped. All passengers were scared to death. However, this was not the end. The smell of aviation fuel began to penetrate into the cabin. In addition, the aircraft burned one engine. Panic spread quickly. Everyone wanted to quickly get out of the burning plane. Flight attendants opened the doors and began evacuating people. But the fire was already raging around. In the cockpit, Captain Rosa was severely injured. This happened when his chair was knocked to the floor by the impact.


Passenger: I pushed his family down the emergency stairwell. We ran past the debris as quickly as possible.



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            Rescuers were able to reach the burning aircraft within a minute after the crash. However, due to the threat of an explosion, getting close was dangerous. Also, the situation was complicated by heavy rain. Something to make out was very difficult.


Rescuer: The rain did not stop. Large plumes of smoke enveloped the plane. You could see that some of the aircraft fell off. Some wheels lying on the roadside.


            When the passengers climbed the hill, away from the plane, there was an explosion. Soon the whole fuselage was in flames. Came to the rescue service began to extinguish the fire. Also, doctors began to examine the passengers.


Lifeguard: People were wet from the rain and dirty because of the rise of the hill. Some were crying and were overexcited. Other looks around for other passengers.


            Frames of the accident immediately began to show on local TV channels. Thousands of cars were on the highway nearby, and drivers observed a terrible picture of a burning aircraft. Motorists began to pick up victims to take them to the airport. As soon as people started arriving, airport workers struggled to figure out whether all the passengers were able to get out of the burning plane. Finally, a few hours later, the passengers were able to see the relatives who met them.


Passenger: We saw the son, who met us. It's an incredible feeling. We were so happy! It was a very touching moment, penetrating to the heart.


            It took time to search and identify all passengers. However, late in the evening, Air France made an incredible statement. Surprisingly, all passengers and crew members of the 358 flight managed to escape from the burning debris.


            The next day, the aircraft left a burning smell and charred fragments. Airliner Airbus A340 burned out. The Transportation Safety Authority of Canada immediately began an accident investigation. Rain and lightning actually prevented the landing of the aircraft. Did bad weather alone cause this crash? Air France has banned all crew members aboard the 358 flight from speaking to the media.


Expert: The weather is very prevented. Countless lightning literally blinding pilots. In turn, the turbulence is too distracting. Because it was difficult to read your instruments.


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            Investigators established that the crew did everything possible to control the situation in their cabin. But, on the ground, devices for determining the strength of the wind on the strip were damaged by lightning. With damaged ground instruments, pilots could only rely on instruments in the cockpit.


Expert: Onboard instruments give information only about the actual wind direction and speed of the ship. The crew could not predict anything. They did not know what awaited them in front.


            But two planes landed on the same runway just a few minutes before the 358 flight. The crews of those aircraft informed the ground services of difficult landing conditions. They talked about the wind on the strip in 20 nodes. 20 nodes are a strong wind, but these conditions are in line with the technical capabilities for landing an Airbus A340. After examining the testimony of the airport radar, experts have restored the picture of what is happening. When the 358 flight landed, a heavy rain squall moved along the runway. Wind power reached 33 knots. It turned out that the crew of the crashed plane had to face much worse conditions than they had expected. 


Expert: 33 node - is demonstrably maximum headwind for aircraft Airbus A340 even if the dry runway.


            After examining the neighborhood of the airport in more detail, the experts found out another strange feature. Technical requirements and weather conditions forced the flight control service to use the 24 strip for landing. It was the shortest landing strip at the airport. It is shorter than the rest by almost 650 meters. As a result, heavy rain, gusts of wind, lightning, and the fact of landing on a short lane, provided problems for the crew of the 358 flight.


Investigator: It was clear that the pilots did not fully understand the information received. Not realizing how threatening the situation was, they tried to sit up.


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            But even under difficult conditions and on a short runway, the crew had 3000 meters to land their aircraft. That should have been enough. To understand why this happened, the experts went deep into the past. In 1999 to horror a similar incident occurred in Little Rock Arkansas. Then, in the fight against unpredictable weather, the aircraft company "American Airlines"I landed, getting off the runway. 11 people died. One of the investigators involved in the investigation of the accident.


Investigator: The first thing I thought, "I've seen it." The very first information about the crash "Air France"Strongly reminiscent of an American airliner crash in Little Rock.


            During an investigation in 1999, investigators found that the crew had made a fatal mistake. They did not fulfill all the actions established by the rules. In that case, ground spoilers were not released. This significantly reduced the braking performance. Spoilers are just one of the tools that pilots use to land a plane. Spare thrust engines are also used. They redirect the action of the engine when the plane lands, and then the braking system stops it. All landing systems of the airliner were carefully studied by experts. They soon learned that the brakes were working properly and the spoilers were fully extended. There was no question of any technical malfunction.


            While the investigation lasted, the French press released a sensation. The newspaper Le Figaro published an article about the crash of the 358 flight. It said that the spare thrust engines that help the plane to brake did not turn on while the plane was on the runway for 12 seconds.


Expert: Captain Rosa confirmed in the paper. He explained this by the fact that the second pilot was tense and could hardly control the lateral movement of the aircraft. With this wind and at a rate much pressed his hand on the controls. This did not allow the captain to reach them. So spare traction motors were not neglect.


            After that, the investigators made their report. In many ways, it was similar to the version set out in “Le Figaro”. The Transportation Safety Authority of Canada found that while the thrust engines were in a position of readiness, they were not fully engaged. In fact, it took 17 seconds to get them running at full capacity.


Expert: The delay was the problem, said the report. It is difficult to understand why it happened. I just know that usually, pilots try to use the engines as soon as possible to stop the aircraft.


            Examination revealed other intricate facts. When the 358 flight approached the landing strip, the plane was at a height two times larger than necessary. When he landed, he was in the middle of the band. This is one of the reasons why the pilots could not stop the aircraft in time. From the moment the plane touched the ground, he had only 1500 meters left.


Investigator: If replacement traction motors were running on time, it would accelerate the braking. Another thing is that the plane landed in the middle of the strip, and braking was too late.


            Unfortunately, the case with flight 358 is far from being single. In 2005, there were 37 similar incidents all over the world. Most importantly, the causes of all the accidents were very similar. Each time the weather conditions and the state of the runways played a role.


Expert: We must take into account everything that happens around. There are many factors that can reduce the effectiveness of the braking of the aircraft. In some cases, the braking distance can easily be increased to 50%.


            Now, to increase security, special devices are installed at many airports. They are built at the end of the runways and represent a barrier of rubble that quickly and safely brakes the plane.


            In conclusion, I would like to note the promptness of the actions of the crew of the 358 flight. In just 90 seconds, they managed to evacuate all passengers. Only because of this, all remained alive. 


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