Paris – French investigators looking into the crash that killed all 116 people aboard an Air Algerie plane in Mali last July said on Saturday that the crew apparently failed to activate an anti-frost system, causing some sensors to malfunction.
Flight AH5017 was en route from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to Algiers when it went down in northern Mali just a half hour after take-off.
The French civil aviation authority BEA, which published its initial findings on its website, said the McDonnell Douglas 83 jet ran into trouble as a result of “frost on the pressure sensors situated on the nose-cone of the motors”.
“If the system for protecting against frost on the motors is activated, the pressure sensors are reheated by warm air,” the BEA said, adding that an analysis of available data indicated that the crew apparently did not activate these systems.
With the sensors transmitting erroneous information, the thrust of the motors was hampered and the speed of the plane slowed, causing it to drop and crash.
Entire families died in the crash with France bearing the brunt of the disaster with 54 nationals killed.
The BEA is expected to publish its final report on the crash in December.