spooky

December 10th, 2009

Yesterday at lunch with my colleagues the spookiness of coincidences was mentioned. How’s this for spooky coincidence: An Air France Airbus A330 flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on November 29 met the exact same meteorological conditions in the same region as the Air France A330 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1. Here’s Le Monde’s article with my dodgy translation:

Le 29 novembre, un vol Rio-Paris a rencontré des conditions similaires à celles de l’avion qui s’est écrasé en juin. C’est une information que révèle Le Figaro. Il y a dix jours, le vol AF 445, qui est le nouveau nom donné au vol AF 447 d’Air France depuis l’accident du 1er juin dernier qui avait fait deux cent vingt-huit victimes, a subi de fortes perturbations exactement dans la même zone que celle où l’AF 447 a disparu.

November 29 a Rio-Paris flight met similar conditions to that of the plane that crashed in June. This information was revealed by Le Figaro. 10 days ago, the flight AF 445, which is the new name given to Air France’s flight AF 447 since the accident of last June 1 that killed 228, suffered severe turbulence exactly in the same zone as that where AF 447 disappeared.

Faute d’avoir récupéré les boîtes noires, toujours au fond de l’Atlantique, les enquêteurs attendent de pouvoir analyser les données du vol AF 445. Le bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses (BEA) en charge de l’investigation sur le drame a aussitôt lancé une enquête.

As they failed to recover the black boxes, which are still at the bottom of the Atlantic, investigators are waiting to be able to analyse the data from flight AF 445. The Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses (BEA) in charge of the investigation into the case has also launched an inquiry.

Le parallélisme entre l’accident du 1er juin et l’incident du 29 novembre est saisissant, note le quotidien. Le vol AF 445 aurait rencontré des conditions météo perturbées dans le “pot au noir” (zone de convergence intertropicale) proches de celles de l’AF 447. Il s’agit également de la même famille d’avion : un Airbus A 330-203 pour l’AF 447 et un A 330-200 pour le vol 445. L’incident aurait eu lieu à 18 kilomètres de la zone supposée de disparition de l’AF 447, la nuit aussi. En revanche, l’AF 445 n’a pas subi de givrage de ses sondes Pitot et de pertes d’informations anémométriques, à la différence du vol AF 447.

The parallels between the accident of June 1 and the incident of November 29 are astounding, the daily noted. Flight AF445 met disturbed weather conditions in the “pot au noir” (Intertropical Convergence Zone) similar to those that AF 447 encountered. Both planes were of the same family: an Airbus A330-203 for AF 447 and an A330-200 for flight 445. The incident occured 18 kilometres from the zone from which it is assumed AF 447 disappeared, also at night. On the other hand, the pitot tubes of AF 445 didn’t frost over, nor did it lose its airspeed data, unlike flight AF 447.

Well, I think I’ve got the right meaning across. I should note that a French-French dictionary is not as useful for French-English translation as I first thought. Trouble is, I have yet to come across a decent online French dictionary. I would like to know, if there are any sailors out there familiar with the tropics, if there is any English language sailor slang equivalent to “pot au noir”. I should also note that I have never seen an English translation of Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses– and it’s been in the news a fair bit recently, what with Air France’s crash and the crash of an Air New Zealand A320 into the Mediterranean off Perpignan.

Anyway, it’s strange to see a flight from the same airline, the same kind of plane, encounter the same weather in almost the same spot as where one plane was downed not so long ago. And if what I just read about the Intertropical Convergence Zone is accurate, then I have to wonder just how many other similar incidents there have been in similar areas.

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