Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

No apology from airline - widow

Inquests will be held into the deaths of two of the 228 passengers and crew who were killed when an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the sea

The widow of a man killed when an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the sea says her family are still fighting for an apology from the airline.

Speaking after an inquest into her husband's death, Patricia Coakley said all the victims' families deserves an apology but four years on she has not received one.

Arthur Coakley, 61, was killed in the early hours of June 1, 2009, when Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

All 228 passengers and crew were killed, including five Britons. An investigation found equipment malfunctioned and the pilots were unable to respond effectively.

An inquest into Mr Coakley's death and that of Neil Warrier, 48, from London, took place at Northallerton County Hall, North Yorkshire.

"We are fighting for an apology, everyone deserves an apology but they are refusing to give it," said Mrs Coakley.

"I spoke to Air France's lawyer and he ignored it. That's all we want, an apology. It's four years and four months to the day exactly since it happened.

"The first of the month is really difficult and we always relive the exact time my son phoned and asked which plane he was on."

Delivering a narrative verdict, coroner Michael Oakley said there had been systematic failures and a blockage of the aircraft's pitot tubes, used to measure fluid pressures.

He also voiced concern at the possibility pilots might be too reliant on technology after it was revealed the pilots were inadequately trained.

"The evidence in the official accident report highlights systematic failures and a lack of comprehension of the aircraft's situation between the pilots during the flight," he said.

"The pilots were not adequately trained to handle the aircraft safely in the particular high altitude emergency situation that night.

"The air disaster highlights serious public concern of whether pilots are overly dependent on technology and are not retaining the skills required to properly fly complex commercial aircraft."

He concluded his verdict by saying a number of factors compromised the flying ability of the pilots that day.

Mr Coakley, from Sandsend, near Whitby, North Yorkshire, was a structural design engineer and a partner in the Aberdeen oil firm PD&MS.

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