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Fire in the Sky


Air France crash: 'bodies hold clues to what happened'

air france body
Members of the Brazilian Air Force carry a body recovered from the ocean, at Fernando de Noronha island airport, off the northeast coast of Brazil

The identification of bodies from Air France flight 447 that disappeared out of the sky en route from Brazil to France may hold vital clues to the tragedy that claimed 228 lives.

Investigators believe that comparing where the passengers were sitting and where their bodies were found in the ocean could provide information about when the doomed aircraft broke up after vanishing over the Atlantic on May 31.

A desperate race against time and worsening weather is on to find the plane's black boxes, the best hope of establishing exactly what went wrong, but in their absence experts are having to piece together clues from the victims and debris found in the sea.

As the search continues the family of one of the victims has filed a civil action in order to force investigators to hand over information about the crash.

Maître Sophie Bottai, representing the parents, brother and girlfriend of an unnamed 38-year-old passenger from Paris, said they "had the feeling that a part of the truth was not being told".

She added: "Given the clear filtering of information, certain families of victims of the crash of flight AF447 feel that the whole truth has not been told on the subject.

"We want simple answers to simple questions; for example why was there such a delay between the last signal from the plane and the moment the authorities raised the alarm."


Air France censors Le Figaro newspaper

Air France is censoring information about the Airbus 330 crash published by French daily Le Figaro.

The French airline has sent a fax to airports in several countries, among them to Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport, forbidding its staff to give passengers a French daily Le Figaro.

Air France has imposed a ban on Le Figaro after the daily published an article in which it accused the French carrier of not having replaced faulty airspeed sensors in its planes. Le Figaro claims that defective aircraft speed monitors caused serious, although not catastrophic, problems in other Air France planes - Airbus A330 and 340 models - in the past. Air France ordered the replacements in April and received them three days before the crash.


Meteor Shower over English Channel Causes Confusion

Captains have reported distress signals in the sky

A number of captains, sailing their ships in the crowded waters of the English Channel on Monday night, signaled to the coastguard services in France and the United Kingdom, saying that they noticed warning flares in the night sky. The lights, they reported, were either white or bright green, and they urged authorities to take steps to save the ships in distress. The cause of the strange phenomenon, which began at around 21:30 BST (2030 GMT), was quickly found to be an expected meteor shower, of which the boat captains in the area had no idea.


Autopsies suggest Air France jet broke up in sky

Air France 447 debris
© Associated Press/ECPAD
This photo released Wednesday June 17, 2009 by the French army shows soldiers approaching a piece of debris believed to be part of Air France flight 447, during continuing searches for debris and bodies on Friday June 12, 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean
Autopsies revealed fractures in the legs, hips and arms of Air France disaster victims, a Brazilian official said Wednesday. Experts said those injuries - and the large pieces of wreckage pulled from the Atlantic - strongly suggest the plane broke up in the air.

There have been no visible signs of burning or charring on bodies or wreckage, though that doesn't rule out an explosion somewhere outside the passenger cabin, these crash experts told The Associated Press.

A spokesman for Brazilian medical examiners told the AP that the fractures were found in autopsies on an undisclosed number of the 50 bodies recovered so far. The official spoke on condition he not be named due to department rules.

Comment: The above evidence strengthen the hypothesis that a Tunguska Type Event brought down Air France 447 flight.


Meteors cause flare alert calls?

© Unknown
Coastguards said three meteor showers had been forecast
Reports of strange lights in the sky and distress flares being fired in the English Channel actually turned out to be a meteor shower, coastguards say.

Calls were made to coastguards across England's south coast, including Cornwall, Devon and Hampshire, reporting white and green flares.

Reports were also made to coastguards in Jersey and France for about 30 minutes from about 2130 BST on Monday.

Solent coastguards said three such showers had been forecast.

Meteor showers are caused by debris from a comet burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.


Australia: Perth, Western Australia - A Large Bright Light and a Fireball

Posted: June 15, 2009

Date: May 23, 2009
Time: Approx: 6:00 a.m.
Number of witnesses: 2
Number of Objects: 1
Shape of Objects: Round

Full Description of Event/Sighting: Saw what looked like a really large bright star in the sky. We were looking in a easterly direction. My husband left and I continued to look up at the bright light. It suddenly started to fade away like it was something flying away.

We also saw a meteor or something enter the atmosphere around the time of the Lyrid meteor shower. It has a fireball tail. We both saw it. It was around 3:00am in the morning on I think the 22 April 2009. These are most probably both natural phenomenon?


Meteor shower sparks coastal alerts along English Channel

Reports of strange lights in the English Channel overnight have been put down to a meteor shower, coastguards said.

Calls were made to stations from Hampshire down to Brixham in Devon and across to Jersey and France at about 9.30pm on Monday, with people saying they were seeing white and green flares in the sky.

A Solent Coastguard spokesman said: "There were reports of flares all down the coast which went on for about half an hour but there was a forecast for a meteor shower."


Air France Flight 447: First bodies had minimal clothing, no burns

© AP Photo/Brazil's Air Force
Navy sailors recover debris of the missing Air France Flight 447 from the Atlantic Ocean on June 9.
Beyond an increasing body count, little new information emerged on Friday from official sources regarding the crash of Air France Flight 447.

(By official sources, I mean the Brazilian military's official bulletins, France's investigations unit BEA, Air France and Airbus.)

Brazilian military searchers pulled three more bodies out of the ocean on Thursday night, bringing the total body count to 44. The French Navy has also found an undisclosed number of bodies, according to Brazilian military bulletins.


Air France plane crash: six more bodies found

Six more bodies have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean where an Air France jet crashed killing 216 passengers, Brazilian officials said yesterday, bringing to 50 the number of bodies found since the crash on May 31.

Almost two weeks after the crash, Brazil's military said the search is becoming increasingly difficult, and a they gave a tentative date of 25 June to halt their efforts. The bodies were found on the same day that wreckage from the crash was found washed ashore in Brazil.

The wreckage included two plane seats, oxygen masks, water bottles, and several parts of the Airbus A330's structure.

The plane's black boxes - which have yet to be located and whose emergency beacons begin to fade after 30 days - along with debris and bodies from the jet, all contain crucial clues as to how and why Air France Flight 447 went down en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.


14-year-old hit by 30,000 mph space meteorite

Gerrit Blank
© unknown
Gerrit Blank survived a direct hit by a meteorite as it hurtled to Earth at more than 30,000 mph
A schoolboy has survived a direct hit by a meteorite after it fell to earth at 30,000mph.

Gerrit Blank, 14, was on his way to school when he saw "ball of light" heading straight towards him from the sky.

A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground.

The teenager survived the strike, the chances of which are just 1 in a million - but with a nasty three-inch long scar on his hand.

Comment: Actually, these incidents are not as rare as we are made to believe. From our Comets and Catastrophe installment, read: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls