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Air France crash crew was "poorly trained," investigators say

The crew of the Air France jet that crashed in bad weather off the coast of Brazil in 2009 were poorly trained and confused by alarms in the cockpit, according to French investigators.

Air france crash report 07 30 11Enlarge
(From L) Alain Bouillard, investigator-in-charge of flight Air France 447 safety investigation from French agency Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), his Brazilian counterpart Luis Lupoli and Patrice Grenouillard, head of air transport for the French Gendarmerie, pose behind an AF447 Rio-Paris plane flight black boxes displayed during a press conference on May 12, 2011, at the BEA headquarters at the airport in Paris, after they were taken back to France. Investigators on July 29, 2011 released new information on the Air France plane's final moments before it plunged into the Atlantic in 2009 en route from Rio to Paris, killing 228 people. (MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images)

The pilots of the Air France jet that crashed off the coast of Brazil in 2009 were poorly trained and confused by rough weather and screeching alarms in the cockpit, according to a report by French investigators.

Flight Air France 447 went down into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, after running into a high-altitude thunderstorm four hours into a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

All 228 people on board the Airbus 330 were killed.

The wreckage of the plane was discovered after a long search of 3,860 square miles of sea floor. The flight recorders were recovered after extensive undersea exploration of the plane crash site.

France’s BEA authority, after reviewing the flight recorders, said the pilots had inadequate training to deal with repeated stall warnings, and recommended mandatory training to help pilots fly planes manually and recover from a high-altitude stall, according to the Associated Press.

Investigators from the French accident investigation agency said the crew of AF 447 had failed to “formally identify the loss of altitude” despite an alarm ringing for nearly a minute, the BBC reports.

A statement from Air France rejected the BEA's findings, saying that "nothing at this stage can allow the crew's technical competence to be blamed" for the crash.

But BEA head Jean-Paul Troadec said that while the crew had less than 4.5 minutes to correct the aircraft stall, "the situation was salvageable,” the Associated Press reports.

Further details of the BEA’s findings recovered from the flight's "black boxes" will be included in a final reported expected to be released in early 2012.