It takes Marc Dubois more than a minute to return to the cockpit when his 2 co-pilots are calling frantically for help. Dubois is the captain of the Air France flight 447 that plunges into the Atlantic while it is en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009.
More than a minute is long considering that the plane 4 minutes and 23 seconds after the autopilot disengaged hits the water.
It was never revealed why it takes him that long, but according to ABC News he is traveling socially with Veronique Gaignard, an off-duty Air France flight attendant.
First Officer Cedric Bonin, a 32-year-old pilot with fewer than 5,000 flight hours, is at the controls. He has never been in this situation before at high altitude and makes the fatal mistake of pulling the plane's nose up, which causes it to go into a deep stall. He asks where the captain is and calls for help several times before Dubois returns to the flight deck.
Dubois leaves for a scheduled nap about 4 hours into the flight, around the same time the plane is about to enter a severe thunderstorm which other aircraft avoid. After the captain's return to the flight deck he observes confusion with the co-pilots, who do not understand the situation. They never regained control of the plane.
Gaignard had a passion for opera and was a member of the Air France choir, but she also performed solo as soprano. She is not part of the investigation, according to Jean-Paul Troadec, director of the French agency for investigation and analyses of civil aviation safety (BEA) because BEA is not interested in pilots' private lives.
BEA will release its final report on the investigation into the crash on July 5, 2012.