Air France Rio crash dead 'to be recovered'

Apr 04 2011

_52000604_52000603.jpgSpecialists could start recovering bodies of those killed in Air France's 2009 plane crash off Brazil within weeks, French officials say.

Undersea robots finally uncovered a large part of the wreckage, including bodies, on Sunday.

The "black-box" flight recorders have not yet been spotted, but investigators have expressed hope they will be found.

The flight went down in the Atlantic, killing all 228 passengers. The cause of the disaster remains unknown.

Although debris was recovered soon after the accident, most of the wreckage sank, and three previous attempts to find the plane were largely unsuccessful.

But the fourth attempt, using robots capable of operating 4,000m (13,120ft) below the ocean's surface, uncovered a substantial part of the plane.

French Transport Minister Nathalie Kosciusco-Morizet told reporters: "The phase involving the raising of the aircraft could be launched within three weeks to a month.

"I am speaking about raising the aircraft and I am also speaking about raising the bodies, because bodies have been located on the spot. These bodies will be raised and will be identified."

Officials said the victims' relatives would be kept informed of the operation's progress.

Those who died came from more than 30 countries, though most were French, Brazilian or German.

The Paris-bound Air France jet came down hours after it took off from Rio de Janeiro on 1 June.

News Feed from BBC News

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