Saturday, June 6, 2009

Two bodies from Air France found

Investigators found two passengers' bodies and a briefcase containing an Air France Flight 447 ticket in the Atlantic Ocean near where the jetliner is believed to have crashed, an official said.The French agency investigating the disaster, meanwhile, said airspeed instruments were not replaced as the maker recommended before the plane disappeared in turbulent weather nearly a week ago during a flight from Rio to Paris with 228 people aboard.All were killed, the world's worst commercial air accident since 2001, and Air France's deadliest plane crash.

The bodies of two male passengers were recovered Saturday morning about 45 miles south of where Air France Flight 447 emitted its last signals — roughly 400 miles northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast.An air force spokesman said an Air France ticket was found inside a leather briefcase.It was confirmed with Air France that the ticket number corresponds to a passenger on the flight.The bodies are being transported to the Fernando de Noronha islands for identification. A backpack with a laptop and a vaccination card also was recovered.The U.S. Navy is sending two high-tech devices to French ships that will help them locate the black boxes.The Towed Pinger Locators, which can detect emergency beacons to a depth of 20,000 feet, are being flown to Brazil with a U.S. Navy team.The team will deliver the locators to two French tugs that will use them to listen for transmissions from the black box.

As a part of their investigation, the officials are relying on 24 messages the plane sent automatically during the last minutes of the flight.The signals show the plane's autopilot was not switched on, officials said, but it was not clear if the autopilot had been switched off by the pilots or had stopped working because it received conflicting airspeed readings. The flight disappeared nearly four hours after takeoff.

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