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Air France wreckage spotted in Atlantic

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 2 (UPI) -- Brazilian officials confirmed Tuesday that debris spotted in the Atlantic Ocean is wreckage from missing Air France Flight 447.

Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said no survivors were found, CNN reported.

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The Airbus A330 was headed from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board when it encountered heavy turbulence and disappeared from radar early Monday. Floating objects, including an airplane seat and an orange life vest were spotted Tuesday about 400 miles northeast of the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.

A French commercial vessel arrived on the scene Tuesday and confirmed the wreckage. CNN said a Brazilian Navy ship is expected to arrive Wednesday.

While the majority of the passengers were from Brazil, France and Germany, 29 other countries were represented on the passenger list -- including two passengers from the United States, CNN said.

Among the passengers was Prince Pedro Luis de Orleans e Braganca, 26, a member of Brazil's non-reigning royal family, and two executives of French tire company Michelin. A Michelin spokeswoman identified the officials as Luiz Roberto Anastacio, president of Michelin Latin America, and Antonio Gueiros, director of informatics.

Search crews will try to locate the cockpit voice and data recorders to determine the cause of the crash.The Airbus A33O's automatic system initiated a series of messages with the company's maintenance computer just before it disappeared Monday, indicating several pieces of aircraft equipment had broken down, Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told CNN.

U.S.-based AccuWeather.com said updrafts from thunderstorms near Fernando De Noronha may have reached up to 100 mph, which would lead to severe turbulence for the aircraft. Meteorologists said the stormy conditions could have played a role in the plane's structural or electrical failure.

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