Monday, June 8, 2009

17 bodies recovered

In this photo released by Brazil's Air Force, officers recover debris from the Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday. -- PHOTO: BRAZIL'S AIR FORCE

RECIFE (Brazil) - BRAZILIAN military authorities say search boats scouring the Atlantic Ocean have now recovered 17 bodies of passengers on a doomed Air France flight that crashed a week ago.

Air Force Colonel Henry Munhoz says four of the bodies were men and four were women. He did not immediately provide information about the gender of the other bodies. The flight was carrying 228 people when it crashed the night of May 31.

Earlier, Brazilian crews on five more ships found five other bodies from flight AF 447 from Rio to Paris.

Mr Munhoz also told reporters on Sunday night that several structural parts of the Airbus 330 were recovered at the location from which Flight 447 sent a burst of messages saying it was having electrical problems and loss of cabin pressure.

'The Panther helicopter carried on board took off immediately and spotted the body and the debris, which was picked up by the ship,' he added.

A French nuclear sub, the Emeraude, is due to arrive on Wednesday to hunt for the plane's black box flight recorders. Brazil has nine surveillance planes and five ships in the hunt and the United States has a plane.

The two black box flight data recorders - which may hold the clues that explain the disaster - will only emit a homing signal for around a month.

'We'll need a real stroke of luck since we don't know the exact site of the crash, but it's worth a try,' said Captain Prazuck.

If the Emeraude, a nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine, can locate the black boxes it will pass on the recovery task to a mini-submarine being taken to the area by a French scientific research ship, the Pourquoi Pas (Why Not). -- AFP

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