Tail section of downed Air France Airbus recovered

Find raises hopes investigators may be able to locate jet's voice and data recorders

Brazilian divers today recovered the largest piece of debris yet from the Air France plane that disappeared over the Atlantic over a week ago.

The navy teams, who have now pulled 24 bodies from the water, recovered a large tail section from the Airbus A330, carrying the red and blue stripes of the airline's livery. The find raised hopes that investigators may yet be able to locate the jet's voice and data recorders, seen as vital to discovering what caused the crash. The black box recorders, presumed to be thousands of metres below the surface, emit sonar signals for at least 30 days.

Recovery teams have found dozens of smaller pieces of the plane, including wing fragments, and many personal items presumed to belong to the 228 people on board.

The Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said his country would do everything it could to find more bodies: "We know how significant it is for a family to recover their loved one. "During this painful time it's not going to resolve the problem, but it is an immense comfort to know they can bury their loved ones."

France is leading efforts to recover the black boxes. A French navy ship and nuclear submarine were heading to the scene, while the US navy was sending two hi-tech underwater listening devices.


Peter Walker

The GuardianTramp

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