An Airbus A320 has crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on 27NOV2008, just 2.5 km offshore Canet-en-Roussillon in Perpignan, southern France. Reports say this was a test flight, with three people found dead and four missing (but feared dead), which would mean none of the 7 people onboard would have survived the crash…
The aircraft plunged into waters just off the French coast after taking off in late afternoon with a crew of seven from Perpignan, France, where the plane was being overhauled. The accident occured at around 5pm local time, as the plane was preparing to land after the two-hour test flight. The plane belonged to Air New Zealand and had been leased to the German carrier XL Airways for the last two years. It was to have been returned in the coming days to Air New Zealand, thus it has been repainted to Air New Zealand colours when the accident happened.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe told a news conference in Auckland that two of the crew were German pilots from XL Airways. (Some reports say they were actually piloting the plane on this flight, but this is not yet confirmed.) The others were a pilot and three engineers employed by Air New Zealand and an inspector from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority, he said.
Three bodies were recovered from the water, and though French Navy boats, planes and a helicopter were continuing rescue search efforts, a spokesman for the French Coast Guard said that it was very unlikely that anyone had survived the crash.
Fyfe told reporters on Friday 28NOV2008, that he still hoped survivors would be found. “I certainly haven’t given up hope,” he said.
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but according to some reports, the spokesman for XL said “the plane tried to make an emergency landing on the sea.” The remains of the plane is currently resting in about 30 meters of water.