1 year later, no answers but many memories
PARIS - Families mourned in more than a dozen languages and the Air France choir performed Verdi's Requiem in a ceremony Tuesday honoring the 228 people killed when a Rio de Janeiro-to-Paris flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean a year ago.
PARIS - Families mourned in more than a dozen languages and the Air France choir performed Verdi's
in a ceremony Tuesday honoring the 228 people killed when a Rio de Janeiro-to-Paris flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean a year ago.
Robert Soulas was one of about 1,000 relatives attending a ceremony at the Paris Floral Park and the unveiling of a monument to honor the victims of Flight 447 at the French capital's renowned Pere Lachaise cemetery.
His biggest hope, he said, is that the flight recorders are found, and with them answers to what caused the June 1, 2009, disaster, in which his daughter died.
"Our emotion is more intense than ever because we don't have many answers," Soulas said.
Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau promised that the investigation would continue into why the Airbus A330-200 went down after running into a strong thunderstorm. He said he would set up a group to meet regularly with families to inform them of progress.
Tuesday's ceremony was translated into 15 languages, and texts were read by a rabbi, a priest, a pastor, and an imam, as well as by relatives and Air France personnel.
In the afternoon, flowers were laid at a monument inscribed with 228 birds, representing the victims. A similar memorial was inaugurated last year in Rio de Janeiro.
A third search effort in the Atlantic, costing $15.8 million, ended last week and failed to find the plane's voice and data recorders.
Automatic messages sent by the plane's computers just before it crashed show it was receiving false air-speed readings from sensors known as Pitot tubes. Investigators have insisted that the crash was most likely caused by a series of failures and not just the Pitot tubes.
Air France's CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, and president, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, attended the memorial along with 200 Air France staff.
In Rio de Janeiro, about 80 people - family, friends, Air France workers, and France's ambassador to Brazil, Yves Saint-Geours - filed somberly into a Catholic church in the Ipanema beachside neighborhood to mark the anniversary.
"It was such a tragedy," said a weeping Ligia Valle, whose niece Luciana Seba died in the accident. "Her body was never found. I miss her physical presence so much."