Downed Air France AF447 debris foundJune 2nd, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by John Le Fevre
Brazilian military aircraft have sighted debris from missing Air France flight AF447 650 km (400 miles) north of the islands of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil’s northern coast.
The debris, comprising metal objects and aircraft seats, is near where the last contact was made with the Airbus A330 that took off from Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night bound for Paris, but disappeared about four hours later without sending any distress signal.
Brazilian Air Force Colonel Jorge Amaral said, “the plan now is to focus our efforts to collect the debris and try to identify if they belong or not to the Air France plane,”
“We can’t really say this is part of the airplane. The command center needs to have at least one piece of the debris with a serial number to confirm that it belongs to the airplane,” he added.
AIr France flight AF447 sent a succession of one dozen automatically generated technical messages warning of multiple electric and pressurization failure over four minutes after it hit a fierce storm mid-flight. The plane has not been heard from again.
French Defense Minister Herve Morin said on Europe 1 radio, “we can’t rule out a terrorist act since terrorism is the main threat to Western democracies, but at this time we don’t have any element whatsoever indicating that such an act could have caused this accident.”
Brazil’s air force last had contact with the plane at 0133 GMT Monday when it was 565 km (350 miles) from Brazil’s coast. The last automated signals were received at 0214 GMT.
Brazil has sent six jets to look for the airliner and the navy dispatched three ships. Morin said France had sent three jets, one airborne warning and control system (AWACS), as well as two naval vessels.
The United States has also agreed to help locate the crash site using satellite data.
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