Air France bodies flown to city

2009-06-07 08:29

Fernando de Noronha - Brazilian search aircraft late on Saturday spotted seats and part of a plane wing in the Atlantic where an Air France jet went down nearly a week ago, officials said after two bodies and other items were recovered from the area.

"As well as the bodies there are various remains of the aircraft," air force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Henry Munhoz told reporters in the northeastern city of Recife.

"Plane seats, part of the wing (and) various other items (were) localised," Munhoz said.

The finds - the first from the crash - were being brought to the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, the closest inhabited spot to the zone where they were found, for initial inspection by five Brazilian forensic police.

Relatives gave DNA samples

From there, they were to be flown to the mainland city of Recife for further analysis by French officials leading the investigation into what sent Air France flight 447 plunging into the ocean June 1 with 228 people on board.

The two male bodies the Brazilian navy recovered in the zone earlier on Saturday would be catalogued here and also flown to Recife, Munhoz said.

"Recife will be the final destination for the bodies as well as the debris from the aircraft," he said, adding that "details of the (personal) items collected will be divulged to the relatives and only to the relatives."

The spokesperson added that "the state of the bodies will not be divulged."

Relatives of those aboard the Air France flight have already given DNA samples to help identify their loved ones.

Although the black boxes containing vital data on the flight's final minutes have not yet been located, early suspicions are focusing on a possible malfunction of the Airbus A330's air speed sensors as it flew into a fierce storm.

French submarines helping

French investigators said Saturday the plane, four hours into a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, suffered multiple systems failures in its final moments and that speed monitors had failed on other Airbus planes.

Airbus on Friday issued a notice urging all pilots of its jets to review a 2001 warning on the procedures to follow if speed indicators give conflicting readings and force the autopilot to cut out.

Meanwhile Air France said it was stepping up replacement of speed monitors on its Airbus A330s, amid speculation that a faulty indication might have been a factor in the loss of the Rio de Janeiro-Paris flight.

In a statement, Air France said that in May last year it began noticing "incidents of loss of airspeed information during cruise flight" on its twin-engine A330s and four-engine A340s, and informed Airbus of the problem.

The device in question is the pitot probe - usually affixed to the leading edge of a wing - which measures the force of the air through which an aircraft passes.

Combined with a pressure reading from a static port on the fuselage, it tells the flight crew how fast the aircraft is going through the air.

Search for black boxes

French submarines were on their way to help with the hunt for the black boxes, as experts scrutinized the debris found so far searching for clues.

On Saturday Brazilian Colonel Jorge Amaral told reporters in Recife that the air force was able to "confirm the recovery from the water of debris and bodies from the Air France plane."

A blue plane seat, a nylon backpack containing a computer and vaccination card, and a leather briefcase with an Air France ticket inside were the first objects plucked from the sea, according to Amaral and an official statement.

The discoveries took place 450km northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands, themselves 370km from the mainland.

The precise spot was 70km northeast of the point of last communication with the plane, a series of automatically sent messages signalling multiple shutdowns of onboard systems.

Air France was trying to confirm that the recovered seat came from the flight by checking the serial number, which Amaral gave as 23701103B331-0.

French investigators said the Air France airliner sent 24 automatic error messages just before the crash, and its autopilot was disengaged immediately after ones showing conflicting speed readings given by sensors.


Read more on:    brazilian navy  |  air force  |  recife  |  rio de janeiro  |  paris  |  france  |  air france  |  brazil  |  fernando de noronha islands  |  vaccination  |  airbus a330  |  plane crash

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.