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Searchers find bodies from Flight 447

April 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM   |   Comments

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PARIS, April 4 (UPI) -- Human remains from an Air France flight that crashed in 2009 have been found in wreckage on the floor of the Atlantic, the French ecology minister said Monday.

"We have bodies. ... There are bodies that are still in the parts that have been found," Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said.

The bodies are to be brought to the surface and identified, CNN reported.

Jean-Paul Troadec, head of France's air accident investigation agency, told Radio France, "It seems that we have discovered the wreckage site. Up until now we had only found a few elements of debris floating on the surface."

A team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Massachusetts made the discovery, he said.

Air France Flight 447 disappeared on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris and crashed into the Atlantic June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people aboard.

The plane went down in stormy weather, and few bodies were recovered.

It wasn't known what caused the crash because neither of the aircraft's black boxes was found.

Automated messages sent from the plane shortly before it crashed indicated difficulties measuring air speed, but that alone wasn't enough to have caused the crash, officials said.

Bodies and debris recovered after the accident indicated the plane went down belly-first. The airliner's oxygen masks hadn't deployed, meaning it never lost air pressure, CNN reported.

The underwater terrain where the plane went down contains mountains and valleys and it can take up to four days for ships to reach the crash site from the closest ports in Brazil or Senegal in West Africa.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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