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Ocean search finds plane debris

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 3, 2009


French search team over the Atlantic (02 June 2009)

Brazilian and French teams have been searching the Atlantic Ocean

Debris spotted by planes in waters 650km (400 miles) off Brazil’s coast belongs to a missing French airliner, the Brazilian government has confirmed.

A Brazilian search plane saw a band of wreckage along a 5km (3m) strip, said Defence Minister Nelson Jobim.

A Brazilian navy ship is expected to arrive in the area shortly to begin the task of recovering wreckage.

Flight AF 447 was heading from Rio to Paris with 228 people on board when it was lost early on Monday.

France is to hold religious ceremonies to remember the missing, while three days of national mourning have been declared in Brazil.

See a map of the plane’s route

Late on Tuesday, Mr Jobim told reporters in Rio de Janeiro he had no doubt the debris was from the Air France jet.

He gave few details of the wreckage, saying only that it included metallic and non-metallic pieces.

Earlier, Brazil’s air force said it had spotted an airplane seat, an orange buoy and signs of fuel.

‘No hope’

Mr Jobim’s words will come as grim confirmation of the worst for the families waiting for news both in Paris and Rio, the BBC’s Gary Duffy reports from Brazil.

An Air France Airbus A330-200 believed to be the missing plane - archive image from AirTeam Images
Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday
Airbus A330-200 carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew
Contact lost 0130 GMT
Missed scheduled landing at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

Jean-Louis Borloo, the French minister for transport, said chances of finding anyone alive were now “very, very small – even nonexistent”.

If it is confirmed that all 228 people on Flight AF 447 are dead, it will be the worst loss of life in Air France’s history.

“The last bit of hope that we had no longer exists,” said Aldair Gomes, whose son was a passenger on the plane.

“Before, a lot of us were hoping that the plane could have landed on an island or something like that, but no more.”

The first Brazilian navy boat is due to arrive in the zone where the debris was found on Wednesday morning.

It is hoped that the ship will be able to recover wreckage which will give some clue as to why the plane fell from the sky.

Three merchant vessels are already in the area after being diverted to help with the operation.

Search teams are hoping to locate the plane’s cockpit voice and data recorders, which will give the clearest information about what happened.

But Mr Jobim warned that recovering the devices could be difficult because of the depth of the ocean.

“It could be at a depth of 2,000m or 3,000m [6,500ft-9,800ft] in that area of the ocean,” he said.

The US has despatched specialist radar equipment to the area to hunt for the recorder, and France is also sending a research ship equipped with two mini-submarines to the disaster area.

Our only certainty is that the plane did not send out any distress call
Francois Fillon
French prime minister

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the teams were “in a race against the clock in extremely difficult weather conditions”.

He told parliament that the cause of the plane’s loss had still to be established.

“Our only certainty is that the plane did not send out any distress call but regular automatic alerts for three minutes indicating the failure of all systems,” he said.

Experts remain puzzled that there were no radio reports from the Airbus and they say that such a modern aircraft would have had to suffer multiple traumas to plunge into the sea, the BBC’s Adam Mynott reports from Paris.

Most of the missing people are Brazilian or French but they include a total of 32 nationalities. Five Britons and three Irish citizens are among them.

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Flight of AF 447

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One Response

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  1. Maxx said, on June 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    yeah it would be nice if we could see some photographs of this mysterious “debris”. Now flight date may never be found etc etc. Was this a big surprise?

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