Airbus A320 crashes off French coast, 7 missing or dead
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The aircraft crashed at about 5 p.m. local time (1600 UTC) during a test flight. The twin-engine jet airliner had just undergone maintenance at Perpignan in preparation for its return to Air New Zealand by German airline XL Airways, which had been operating it on lease.
The seven on board included two XL Airways crew, Civil Aviation Authority inspector Jeremy Cook of Wellington, and four Air New Zealand personnel. Air New Zealand has identified involved personnel as Captain Brian Horrell and Murray White of Auckland, and Michael Gyles and Noel Marsh of Christchurch. No additional passengers were on board for the flight, which was part of a maintenance test procedure. At least two bodies have been recovered. Though rescue efforts persisted into the night, there is no hope of the remaining five crew members being found alive, according to French officials.
The cause of the crash is not yet clear. The pilots may have attempted an emergency landing on water. Efforts are underway to recover the aircraft's black box. French, German, and New Zealand aviation authorities and investigators have been dispatched to the site to investigate the incident. Manufacturer Airbus, based in Toulouse, will aid the investigation, Airbus spokespersons stated.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson stated that the incident does not cast any doubt on the airworthiness of the A320 design, a popular aircraft which has been involved in only ten fatal accidents since its introduction in 1987. Air New Zealand's fleet includes 13 A320s.
- "Airbus A320 Incident in France" — , November 27, 2008
- Nicolas Fichot. "One dead, six missing in Airbus crash in France" — , November 27, 2008
- "Un Airbus A320 s'abîme au large de Perpignan" — , November 27, 2008
- "Official: Airbus A320 crashes into sea off France" — , November 27, 2008
- "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-232 ZK-OJL Saint-Cyprien" — , November 27, 2008
- Septime Meunier. "Airbus with 7 on board crashes off French coast" — , November 27, 2008
- "Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crashes in test flight off France" — , November 28, 2008
- "Divers resume search for wreckage" — , November 28, 2008
- "Air NZ staff in shock" — , November 28, 2008