Air France flight 447
French civil aviation authority releases final report on Air France flight 447, which crashed into Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board

As the French civil aviation authority, the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), prepared to release its final report on the crash of Air France flight 447, relatives of the 228 people on board when it went down gathered outside the BEA's offices in Paris.

A father who lost his daughter and son-in-law in the Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 said he had been told that faulty data was to blame for the pilot mistakenly nosing the plane upward, instead of downward, during a stall.

Robert Soulas was among them as they were told about the report's findings following a three-year investigation into the cause of the accident.

Soulas, who helped lead a victim's support group for the families of those on board the plane when it went down on 1 June, 2009, said investigators told him the flight director system indicated "erroneous information" that the plane was diving downward and, "to compensate, the pilot had a tendency to pull on the throttle to make it rise up".

In a preliminary report published last year, investigators said the pilot had nosed the plane upward during a stall, which was not the correct manoeuvre that is taught during flight training for recovery from a stall.

The findings of the final report, which revealed false data from sensors about the plane's position, have now shed light on the pilot's error, which contributed to the Airbus A330 crashing into the ocean during a thunderstorm while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The explanation of "human and technical factors" being responsible for the crash was met with a mixed response by the relatives gathered outside BEA's offices.

Barbara Crowlow, a German who lost her son in the crash, said she was "disappointed" that so much emphasis was put on pilot error in the report.

Keiko Marinho, who lost a sister in the tragedy and heads a Brazilian victims' relatives association, told AP: "I get the impression that they're always talking about human error, which I don't believe in at all."

In contrast, John Clemens, who lost a brother in the accident, said he was "satisfied with the conclusions".

"There's a lot more information than before," he said. "The authorities have worked well and made a lot of security recommendations."

The black boxes from the doomed flight, which were used in the investigation, were recovered after a 23-month search at a cost of €32m.

Both Air France and Airbus, the plane's manufacturer, have been anxiously waiting for the final report on the crash to help establish who, ultimately, bears responsibility for the accident.

Air France has continued to insist that the pilots were not to blame for the accident, the dealiest in the airline's history.

French magistrates are investigating both companies for alleged manslaughter in connection with the crash.