After a month of speculation and kibitzing by the civil authorities and the media, we still have very few answers on why Air France Flight 447 crashed in the ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, not longer after leaving Brazilian air space.
Here's an update based on new information from the French air-accident report agency.
From that update via Reuters, here is a section that caught my attention:
"'The plane was not destroyed while it was in flight. It seems to have hit the surface of the water in the direction of flight and with a strong vertical acceleration,'" said Alain Bouillard, who is leading the investigation on behalf of France's BEA air accident board.
"Bouillard said control of the flight was supposed to have passed from air traffic controllers in Brazil to their counterparts in Senegal, but that never happened.
He said the pilots of flight AF 447 had tried three times to connect to a data system in the Senegalese capital Dakar, but had failed, apparently because Dakar had never received the flight plan.
"This is not normal," he said, adding that investigators were also trying to find out why it took six hours after the plane disappeared before an emergency was declared.
[UPDATE: Meanwhile, from the story now running on the New York Times Web site:
"Mr. Brouillard said there had been a “dysfunction” in communication between air traffic controllers in Brazil and Senegal in coordinating the handling of the flight. The report released Thursday makes clear that controllers were slow to realize the plane had been lost. Two hours and 45 minutes after Flight 447 sent its last automated message describing problems on board, controllers were still asking the crew of a different Air France flight to try and contact Flight 447 on their radios."]
Again, I ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why?