French Nuclear Submarine Joins Search for A330 Black Boxes
By Dialogo June 11, 2009PARIS, June 10, 2009 (AFP) – On Wednesday morning the French Nuclear Attack Submarine (SNA) "Emeraude" joined the search operation aimed at finding the black boxes from the Air France Airbus that disappeared while flying over the Atlantic off the Brazilian coast, the French Joint Chiefs of Staff announced. "The 'Emeraude' will begin patrolling in the morning, in the first search area, which comprises an area of 400 square nautical miles, an equivalent of 1296 square km, which must be covered in one day," said Captain Christophe Prazuck of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an interview with AFP. "For this mission, the location will be changed every day, and its duration has not been specified yet,” he added, stating that in the afternoon another ship belonging to the Navy, the "Mistral,” will join the submarine. The deployment of a Nuclear Attack Submarine in a situation like this is a unique event, at least for France. The "Emeraude" will use its sonar system to locate the signal issued by the black boxes. With a crew of 72 men, and 226 aboard the “Mistral,” the French search team will include around 400 military personnel, instead of the 160 that have been available until now. Both units will be later joined by the frigate Ventôse, two maritime Breguet Atlantique patrol aircraft, and a Falcon 50maritime monitoring aircraft.