Monday, June 8, 2009

US Navy technology to help on recovery of Air France 447

New efforts to find AF447 black boxes.

By MARCO SIBAJA and ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writers Marco Sibaja And Alan Clendenning, Associated Press Writers – 40 mins ago

RECIFE, Brazil – A U.S. Navy team was flying to Brazil on Monday with high-tech underwater listening devices to help the search for the black boxes from an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Brazilian and French military ships, which have so far recovered 17 bodies and large amounts of plane wreckage from the sea, resumed their search amid the floating debris.

What caused the Airbus A330 to crash May 31 with 228 people on board will remain a mystery unless searchers can locate the plane's black box flight data and voice recorders, likely buried deep in the middle of the ocean.

Two U.S. Navy devices that can detect emergency beacons to a depth of 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) are being flown to Brazil with a Navy team, according to the Pentagon. They will be delivered to ships that will then listen for transmissions from the black boxes, which are programmed to emit signals for at least 30 days.

Seventeen bodies were recovered Saturday and Sunday about 45 miles (70 kilometers) from where the jet sent out messages signaling electrical failures and loss of cabin pressure.

Authorities also announced that searchers spotted two airplane seats and 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 from passengers were plucked from the water.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said his nation's military would do all it can to retrieve bodies and return them to relatives.

"We know how significant it is for a family to recover their loved one," Silva said Monday on his weekly radio show. He added: "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 the investigation into the cause of the crash, while Brazilian officials are focusing on the recovery of victims and wreckage from Flight 447, which likely broke up in midair in turbulent weather the night of May 31 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The grim task continues...

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