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INVESTIGATION UPDATE ON THE TSB OF CANADA INVESTIGATION INTO THE AIR FRANCE FLIGHT 358 ACCIDENT

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Gatineau - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) provided an update today into its investigation of Air France Flight 358 that overran the end of the runway at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada, on August 2, 2005.

The Airbus A340-313 was on a flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport, France, with 297 passengers and a crew of 12 on board. The flight to Toronto was uneventful and at 3:56 p.m. was cleared for an approach to Runway 24L. The co-pilot was assigned the pilot flying duties for the approach and landing. During the descent to the airport, the crew requested and received radar vectors on two occasions from air traffic control to avoid thunderstorms. After landing long, the aircraft overran the end of the runway and came to rest in a ravine just outside the airport perimeter. Two crew members and nine passengers received serious injuries during the evacuation of the aircraft.

To date, investigators have not found significant anomalies of the aircraft systems. Review of digital flight data recorder (DFDR) data has not revealed any system troubles or malfunctions. Based on a physical examination of the wreckage combined with a follow-up detailed DFDR review of parameters, no problems were detected with the flight controls, spoilers, tires and brakes, or thrust reversers. The flight controls functioned as expected, spoilers were deployed on touchdown, the tires and braking system worked as per design, and the thrust reversers were found in the deployed position. The data also show that the aircraft landed with 7500 kg of fuel.

After the aircraft stopped, flight attendants observed a fire outside the aircraft and gave the evacuation order. The airport's emergency response services (ERS) personnel and vehicles arrived on site within a couple of minutes of the aircraft coming to rest. Their primary task consisted of assisting with the evacuation of the passengers and crew to a safe area and the control of the rapidly intensifying fuel-fed fire, which eventually destroyed most of the aircraft fuselage.

There remains a considerable amount of investigative and analytical work to be done. In the coming months, the investigation team will analyze this accident and other previous occurrences that have similar characteristics to better understand all the contributing factors at play in this accident. The normal TSB procedure during this analysis phase is to look at the human, mechanical and environmental factors to determine whether they contributed to the accident. The analysis of the available factual information is still under way; consequently, it would be inappropriate to speculate as to the findings of the Board on this occurrence.

The investigation team continues to be supported by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile of France, the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States, and other observers.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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