Open Access
February 2014 Search for the Wreckage of Air France Flight AF 447
Lawrence D. Stone, Colleen M. Keller, Thomas M. Kratzke, Johan P. Strumpfer
Statist. Sci. 29(1): 69-80 (February 2014). DOI: 10.1214/13-STS420


In the early morning hours of June 1, 2009, during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, Air France Flight AF 447 disappeared during stormy weather over a remote part of the Atlantic carrying 228 passengers and crew to their deaths. After two years of unsuccessful search, the authors were asked by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation to develop a probability distribution for the location of the wreckage that accounted for all information about the crash location as well as for previous search efforts.

We used a Bayesian procedure developed for search planning to produce the posterior target location distribution. This distribution was used to guide the search in the third year, and the wreckage was found with one week of undersea search. In this paper we discuss why Bayesian analysis is ideally suited to solving this problem, review previous non-Bayesian efforts, and describe the methodology used to produce the posterior probability distribution for the location of the wreck.


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Lawrence D. Stone. Colleen M. Keller. Thomas M. Kratzke. Johan P. Strumpfer. "Search for the Wreckage of Air France Flight AF 447." Statist. Sci. 29 (1) 69 - 80, February 2014.


Published: February 2014
First available in Project Euclid: 9 May 2014

zbMATH: 1332.86017
MathSciNet: MR3201848
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/13-STS420

Keywords: AF 447 , Bayesian , particle filter

Rights: Copyright © 2014 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.29 • No. 1 • February 2014
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