The disappearance of AF447 (A330-200) on its way from Brazil to France is a tragedy of epic proportions. It raises many questions about safety of air travel.
This is not the first air crash, but its circumstances are scary. It is not even known where exactly the crash has occured. Reasons for the crash are so far in the speculative sphere only. Air France suspects but is not sure that weather conditions including a possible lightning did the aircraft in. Could it be an act of terrorism? Of course, no terrorist organisation has so far owned up. But, one cannot be too sure. It is too early to know whether the black box can be retrieved. An enquiry will doubtless be conducted. However, with so little known as to what has happened, one is sceptical about outcome of any enquiry.
Do we learn anything from this catastrophe, as air travellers or airlines? Absolute guarantee of safety in air travel is out of question. Various airlines keep parroting that air travel is among the least risky as a travel mode. That something like this disaster can happen with prospects of recovering fuselage wreckage, black box and bodies of passengers being bleak, is too chilling to comprehend.