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Debris ‘not from Air France jet’

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 5, 2009


A Brazilian plane searches over the Atlantic ocean, 3 June 2009

Brazilian and French planes have been searching over the area of the crash

Debris recovered from the Atlantic by Brazilian search teams does not come from a lost Air France jet, a Brazilian air force official has said.

Brig Ramon Borges Cardoso contradicted earlier reports that debris had been found, saying “no material from the plane has been recovered”.

A wooden cargo pallet was taken from the sea, but the Airbus A330 had no wooden pallets on board.

Relatives have been told that there is no hope of survivors being found.

Air France chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon and chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta briefed the passengers’ relatives in a hotel near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport where they have been waiting for news.

Mr Gourgeon said the jet, which was carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, broke apart either in the air or when it hit the sea.

Air France crash memorial service, Rio de Janeiro, 4 June 2009

Friends and relatives gathered for a memorial service in Rio de Janeiro

“What is clear is that there was no landing,” said a support group representative who was at the meeting, Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc. “There’s no chance the escape slides came out.”

In Rio de Janeiro, hundreds of people gathered at a memorial service attended by the French and Brazilian foreign ministers.

“Those who are missing are here in our hearts and in our memories,” said the French minister, Bernard Kouchner.

A memorial service was held in Paris on Wednesday.

Oil slick

Brazilian navy vessels have been combing the area, about 1,100km (690 miles) north-east of Brazil’s coast.

Three more Brazilian boats and a French ship equipped with small submarines are expected to arrive in the area in the next few days.

Brig Cardoso said that fuel found in the sea probably did come from the plane, because it was not of a type used in ships.

However he said a large oil slick photographed in the area was more likely to have come from a ship.

He said the search effort would continue, with the main focus on finding bodies, but bad weather is forecast for the region on Friday.

‘Clock ticking’

French military spokesman Christophe Prazuck said the priority was looking for wreckage from the plane, before turning the search to flight data recorders.

“The clock is ticking on finding debris before they spread out and before they sink or disappear,” he said.

French officials have said the recorders, which could be deep under water, may never be found.

Plane left Rio de Janeiro at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on 31 May
Contact lost 0130 GMT
Had been due to land at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

Officials have warned that they are far from working out the cause of the crash.

Investigators are reported to be relying on a stream of automated messages sent out just before the crash, which suggested the plane’s systems shut down as it flew through high thunderstorms.

Investigators have suggested that speed sensors failed or iced over, causing erroneous data to be fed to onboard computers. This might have caused the plane to fly too fast or too slowly through the storm, leading it either to break apart or stall and fall out of the sky.

A Spanish pilot flying in the area at the time of the crash was quoted by his airline, Air Comet, as saying he had seen an “intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds”.

The paper said Airbus, the maker of the plane, would issue A330 jets with new advice on flying in storms.

Airbus declined to comment on the report, though an unnamed official told AFP news agency that it was normal to update airlines following an accident.

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