Unconfirmed reports are circulating on professional pilot forums that the Germanwings plane, which crashed in the French Alps yesterday, may have suffered a catastrophic failure of its windshield, incapacitating the pilots.
The report was anonymously posted, initially appearing on the Aviation Herald forum, according to the Daily Mail, and is now circulating amongst pilots online. The report claims that the plane’s black boxes have been successfully accessed, sparking discussion amongst pilots about the possibility that the Germanwings Airbus A320‘s cockpit may have suffered catastrophic structural damage.
— New Straits Times (@NST_Online) March 25, 2015
Tony Newton, a Civil Aviation Authority examiner and a pilot of 20 years with experience flying Airbus A320s, explained to the Daily Mail the consequences of such an emergency.
“If there was sudden structural failure, the reduction in pressure would cause all the gas in the body to expand. The pilots would have been in pain as their ears and guts burst and they would have been extremely disorientated.”
Since the pilots would only have a few seconds of consciousness without oxygen, Newton related that the immediate procedure would be to don their masks before programming the plane to descend to a safer altitude where both passengers and crew would be able to breathe.
“Later on, when things are under control, they should have taken the time to refine the figures so the plane leveled off at about 10,000 feet, where they could remain conscious and continue to fly,” he asserted.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 25, 2015
One of the plane’s data recorders was severely damaged, yet data could be read from it, according to French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve. As the Guardian reports, Investigators are searching for a second black box at the scene of the plane crash, though the cockpit voice recorder arrived this morning at the French air investigation bureau, the BEA. Preliminary reports on the cause of the Germanwings crash are expected within hours, at 4 p.m. Paris time (3 p.m. GMT).
Officials hope that the cockpit recorder will reveal why the plane’s crew failed to respond as the jet lost altitude, eventually slamming into a mountain at a speed in excess of 430 mph, killing all 150 people onboard. As the Inquisitr previously reported, much of the debris at the crash site is no larger than a car.
The crew of the Germanwings Airbus ceased responding on radio at 10:30 a.m. yesterday, according to the Independent. The plane gradually descended, crashing 18 minutes later without transmitting a distress signal. Investigators believe the events between 10:30 a.m. and 10:31 a.m. are crucial to understanding why the Germanwings plane crashed.
[Photo by Sascha Steinbach/ Getty Images]