24 bodies recovered from Air France crash

June 9th, 2009 - 7:58 am ICT by IANS  

Sao Paulo, June 9 (DPA) The number of bodies recovered from the Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean last week rose to 24, Brazilian authorities said.
Another eight bodies from the flight that had been carrying 228 people were found Monday, the Brazilian Navy and Air Force said in the northeastern city of Recife.

The teams have also discovered hundreds of large and small pieces of the Airbus A330-200 that disappeared June 1 while on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris as well as personal belongings of its passengers, they said.

The remains were found about 440 km northeast of Brazil’s tiny, unpopulated Atlantic island group, the St Peter and St Paul Rocks. The sea is about 3,500 metres deep at that location.

Six ships and 14 planes have been deployed round the clock in the search area about 1,200 km northeast of the Brazilian coastline.

The Brazilian recovery frigate Constituicao was returning to land and was on its way to the island of Fernando de Noronha, where it was expected to arrive Tuesday at the earliest with the 16 bodies discovered over the weekend.

The bodies were to receive an initial examination on Fernando de Noronha, about 350 km from the mainland. They then would be flown to Recife, where the process of identification would begin.

Relatives were asked to provide hair and blood samples to aid in the identifications through DNA comparisons.

Boats were fishing debris and belongings from the sea, which included bags, laptop computers, video and digital cameras, passenger seats and plastic fittings from the cabin. Television footage showed wreckage marked with “Air France”.

Where the wreck of Flight 447 exactly lies was unknown as was what caused it to go down.

A French submarine was dispatched to help search for the plane’s black boxes, which record a plane’s instrument readings and cockpit conversations, to help in the investigation.

The wreckage was believed to lie at a depth of more than 3,000 metres, and experts said they believed the recovery of the black boxes was unlikely.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon Sunday named an ambassador for the victim’s families, his office said.

Pierre-Jean Vandoorne is to assist the relatives of the 216 passengers from 32 countries and 12 crew members who died in the accident in their dealings with governments, bureaucracies and Air France.

Vandoorne would also try to facilitate cooperation between French authorities and officials in the countries affected by the crash.

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