Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Air France 447 (continued)
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4 more bodies found from Air France disaster
RECIFE, Brazil – Four more bodies from Air France Flight 447 were recovered Tuesday, and helicopters began ferrying other remains to shore. Air France rushed to replace instruments suspected of feeding false information to the doomed jet's computers, while Brazil announced it was doing the same on the president's plane.
The four bodies found Tuesday morning raises the total recovered to 28, meaning 200 others have yet to be found. Soldiers and medical personnel in surgical gowns carried off the remains in body bags at the island of Fernando de Noronha. They will be taken by plane to the coastal city of Recife, where experts will try to identify them using DNA and photos.
Identifying the bodies — knowing just where they were seated in the plane and studying their injuries — could provide clues to causes of the May 31 disaster, according to Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board.
With the plane's data recorders still apparently deep in the ocean, investigators have been focusing on the possibility that external speed monitors — called Pitot tubes — iced over and gave dangerously false readings to the plane's computers in a thunderstorm.
more about this news, visit: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090609/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/brazil_plane
----------------------------also related to Air France 447:
No doubt wreckage is from Flight 447
RECIFE, Brazil – With 17 bodies pulled so far from the Atlantic, Brazilian and French military ships have no doubt they've located the wreckage of an Air France flight a week after it disappeared en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
But what caused the Airbus A330 to crash with 228 people on board will remain a mystery — unless searchers can locate the plane's black box data and voice recorders, likely buried deep in the middle of the ocean.
Two high-tech devices from the U.S. Navy that can detect emergency beacons to a depth of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) are being flown to Brazil on Monday with a U.S. Navy team, according to the Pentagon. They will be delivered to two French tugs that will listen for transmissions from the boxes.
Bodies recovered Sunday raised the total to 17, after pilots participating in a grid search found 15 corpses in an area about 45 miles (70 kilometers) from where the jet sent out messages signaling electrical failures and loss of cabin pressure.
The first two bodies were found Saturday. Authorities also announced that searchers spotted two airplane seats, debris with Air France's logo, and recovered dozens of structural components from the plane. They had already recovered jet wing fragments, and said hundreds of personal items believed to be passengers' belongings were plucked from the water.
France is leading the investigation into the cause of the crash, while Brazilian officials are focusing solely on the recovery of victims and plane wreckage.
There is "no more doubt" that the wreckage is from Air France Flight 447, Brazilian Air Force Col. Henry Munhoz said Sunday.
Brazil's military was not releasing detailed information about other bodies or debris spotted from the air after it was criticized last week for mistakenly identifying sea trash as a cargo pallet from the plane.
Flight 447 disappeared and likely broke up in midair in turbulent weather the night of May 31.
The search is focusing on a zone of several hundred square miles (square kilometers) roughly 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast.
Brazilian authorities have refused since the search began to release the precise coordinates of where they are looking, except to say the area lies southeast of the last jet transmission and could have indicated the pilot was trying to turn around in mid-flight and head to the islands.
The investigation is increasingly focused on whether external instruments on the Airbus A330 may have iced over, confusing speed sensors and leading computers to set the plane's speed too fast or slow — a potentially deadly mistake.
The French agency investigating the disaster said airspeed instruments on the plane had not been replaced as the maker had recommended, but cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusions about what role that may have played in the crash.
The agency, BEA, said the plane received inconsistent airspeed readings from different instruments as it struggled in a massive thunderstorm.
Nine bodies have been recovered by Brazilian authorities: four men, four women and one that was impossible to identify by gender, Munhoz said. He said he did not have information about the genders of the eight bodies recovered by French military helicopters that were transferred to a French ship.
Munhoz and Brazilian Navy Capt. Giucemar Tabosa Cardoso declined to comment on the condition of the bodies, saying that information would be too emotionally painful for relatives.
Neither would authorities immediately identify hundreds of personal items that have been recovered. Relatives of the victims were devastated by an announcement Saturday that a laptop computer and briefcase containing a plane ticket had been found.
"We don't want to cause them more suffering," Munhoz said.
The bodies and plane wreckage were being transported by Brazilian and French ships and should arrive Tuesday at the Fernando de Noronha islands, where the military has set up a staging post for the search operation. From there, remains and debris will be taken to the northeastern coastal city of Recife for identification.
Munhoz would not say Sunday how far apart the bodies had been found. He referred questions to French authorities on whether the locations of the bodies could help determine whether the plane broke up in the air.
Meanwhile, friends and family remembered geologist Michael Prince Harris and his wife, Anne Debaillon Harris — the only U.S. citizens on the plane — in a memorial service Sunday in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The couple had lived in Lafayette before moving to Houston and then Brazil.
The Pentagon has said there are no signs of terrorism. Brazil's defense minister said the possibility was never considered. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner agreed that there is no evidence supporting a "terrorism theory," but said "we cannot discard that for now."