EU Agency for Aviation Safety chairman Pekka Henttu claims to be close to the investigation into the Germanwing's crash, and to have unofficial information as to the contents of the cockpit voice recording. He suggests the crew may have been unconscious contrary to official reports, but believes there is no reason to speculate.
Henttu told Finnish news Yle, "Sound recordings indicate that the pilots have apparently been unconscious," and added that the descent was arrested a couple of times.
Meanwhile, the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) who is heading the investigation, states during a press briefing today, that while the cockpit voice recorder has been found and an audio file has been sucessfully extracted from the device, that no specific information can be determined at this time. The briefing also reported that no portion of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) has been found, contrary to what the media has reported that the FDR has been found but extensive damage has prevented investigators from accessing the data.
Officials did announce that the CVR contained good data and confirmed the information was from the crashed flight and contained sounds and voices. They would not confirm that the voices belonged to the crew, and did not rule out the possibility of unauthorized access to the flight deck of the Airbus A320.
At the time of the briefing, details of the CVR were only minutes old and won't be released until they can be compared with the information from the FDR. While the FDR has yet to be found, investigators are confident it will be located because the debris field is relatively small.
Many theories surrounding the events have been circulated trying to explain how the entire crew could be incapacitated to the point of catastrophe. Investigators during the briefing did not rule out the shattered windscreen theory. They did, however dismiss the idea that an in flight explosion had occurred, citing the consistency of radar returns would indicate a continued and uninterrupted flight path toward the ground.
Even though the BEA is the official organization responsible for safety investigations into civil aviation accidents and that occur on French territory, the are an independent organization and will not be subject to political pressure from an particular country or corporation. They ensure that all the time necessary to properly conduct the investigation will be used as needed.
While the latest briefing reveals few new details, it does clarify some discrepancies that have been widely reported and brings new hope that the investigation will continue quickly and that more concrete details will soon be revealed.
Photo: Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA, France, www.bea.aero)