By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Passengers on Air France flight AF445 from Rio to Paris have finally reached the French capital after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Morocco on Friday. The 201 passengers had left Rio’s Galeão International Airport late the previous day.
The Airbus A330-200 encountered technical problems during the flight, described by the French company as an “engine malfunction.”
In accordance with company regulations, the engine in question was shut off and the aircraft redirected to the nearest airport. An Air France investigation is already underway to determine exact that caused the defect.
Reports say passengers endured a “climate of panic” on board; emergency services were waiting for the aircraft as it arrived in Casablanca. Air France sent a replacement plane, but some passengers decided to fly on other routes to get home.
The Air France emergency has drawn particular attention following the fatal 2009 accident involving the same Rio-Paris flight and same Airbus aircraft type, which killed all 216 passengers and twelve crew on board after disappearing from radar over the mid-Atlantic. It was the deadliest accident for both France and the company.
In October 2012, it was reported that TAM flight JJ8055, from Paris to Rio, also flown on an Airbus A330, was forced to turn back to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris just seventeen minutes into the flight after developing motor problems.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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