BEA assists with Afriqiyah A330 probe as latest AF447 search fails

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France's BEA safety agency is to assist with the investigation into last week's Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 crash at Tripoli, as its probe into last year's Air France A330 accident continues.

The A330-200 crashed on approach to Tripoli's international airport at the end of a scheduled service (flight 8U771) from Johannesburg on 12 May with 93 passengers and 11 crew on board. A child passenger was the sole survivor.

The BEA, which is heavily involved in the investigation into the 1 June 2009 AF447 crash in the South Atlantic, has sent two investigators to Tripoli, accompanied by five representatives from Airbus.

All 228 passengers and crew on board the Air France A330-200 perished when the twinjet crashed in mysterious circumstances while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, and searches so far have failed to locate the data recorders.

The Afriqiyah twinjet (5A-ONG), which was just eight months old, was one of three General Electric CF6-80E-powered A330-200s in the Tripoli-based airline's fleet. It had accumulated just 1,600h and 420 flights.

"Preliminary reports indicate that the aircraft crashed short of the runway threshold during approach," says Airbus.

Sunrise time for Tripoli on 12 May as listed by astronomical charts is 06:10, which was about 10min after the reported time of the accident. Weather information for the airport indicates visibility had started varying at that time from as high as 6,000m (3.2nm) at 05:50 to as low as 2,000m around 35min later.

The Afriqiyah accident is the second fatal crash suffered by the A330 in airline service. Around 690 A330s have been delivered since the first in late 1993.