None of the debris recovered from the area where officials thought Air France Flight 447 had crashed came from the missing plane, Brazilian authorities report:
"'It has been verified that the material did not belong to the plane,' Brig. Ramon Borges Cardoso told reporters in Recife, Brazil, about the material recovered Thursday. 'It is a pallet of wood that is utilized for transport. It is used in planes, but on this flight to Paris, there was no wooden pallet.' He added that oil slicks seen on the ocean were not from the plane either and that the quantity of oil exceeded the amount the plane would have carried. 'No material from the airplane was picked up,' he said. The announcement left open the question of whether other debris that had not yet been plucked from the ocean might be from the plane. On Wednesday, searchers recovered two debris fields and had identified the wreckage, including an airplane seat and an orange float as coming from Flight 447. Officials now say that none of the debris recovered comes from the missing plane."
"The paper said the manufacturer of the doomed plane, Airbus, was set to issue a recommendation advising companies using the A330 aircraft of optimal speeds during poor weather conditions. Airbus declined to comment on the report and the French air accident investigation agency, which has to validate any such recommendations, known as an Aircraft Information Telex, was not immediately available for comment. A Spanish newspaper said a transatlantic airline pilot reported seeing a bright flash of white light at the same time the Air France flight disappeared. 'Suddenly we saw in the distance a strong, intense flash of white light that took a downward, vertical trajectory and disappeared in six seconds,' the pilot of an Air Comet flight from Lima to Madrid told his company, the El Mundo newspaper reported. 'We did not hear any communication on any emergency or air to air frequency either before or after this event.'"
Meanwhile, other theories abound: a lightning strike, turbulence, hail storm, electrical failure, fire on board, hijacking, bomb, and even a meteor strike.
A French minister has said they "cannot discard" the terrorism theory.
At 11 p.m. (10 p.m. EDT), pilot Marc Dubois sent a manual signal saying he was flying through an area of "CBs" -- black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that carry violent winds and lightning.
Satellite data show that the thunderheads -- towering up to 50,000 feet -- were sending 100 mph updrafts into the jet's flight path.
"Such an updraft would lead to severe turbulence for any aircraft," AccuWeather said.
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"In addition, the storms were towering up to 50,000 feet and would
have been producing lightning. The Air France plane would have
encountered these stormy conditions, which could have resulted in
either some structural failure or electrical failure."
At 11:10 p.m., a cascade of horrific problems began.
Automatic messages relayed by the jetliner indicate the autopilot
had disengaged, suggesting Dubois and his two co-pilots were trying to
thread their way through the dangerous clouds manually.
A key computer system had switched to alternative power and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged.
An alarm sounded, indicating the deterioration of flight systems.
At 11:13 p.m., more automatic messages reported the failure of
systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the
main flight computer and wing spoilers also failed.
The last automatic message, at 11:14 p.m., indicated complete
electrical failure and a massive loss of cabin pressure — catastrophic
events, indicating that the plane was breaking apart and plunging
toward the ocean.