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Judge Charges Air France in Deadly Crash

Brazilian Air Force officers look for signs of Air France flight 447 as they patrol the crash area in the open Atlantic Ocean some 745 miles (1,200 km) northeast of Recife (file photo)

A French judge on Friday filed preliminary manslaughter charges against Air France over the deadly crash of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago.

Air France Flight 447 was heading from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it crashed in stormy weather on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. The cause of the crash has not been determined, but there are suspicions that sensors on the aircraft sent faulty speed readings to pilots.

On Thursday, the judge filed similar charges against Airbus, the maker of the jet.

The preliminary charges mean judges will continue probing to see if there are grounds for a trial.

Air France has strongly protested the move, with CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon saying there is no basis for the investigation.

Friday's announcement came as authorities prepare to resume a search next week for the plane's wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean. The plane's black boxes, which contain the voice and data recorders, have not been recovered, making it hard to determine what caused the accident.

The search will be financed jointly by Air France and Airbus.

The two companies have already spent more than $27 million trying to locate the boxes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.