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Air France 447 Update

The CBC reports on the current state of the investigation, Hundreds of pieces of Air France plane recovered

More than 400 pieces of an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil have been recovered, French investigators said Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference near Paris, French air accident investigation agency head Paul-Louis Arslanian said the debris is from all areas of the Airbus A330. He didn’t provide any further details about the recovered wreckage or say how much of the entire plane has been found.

Arslanian said the search for the aircraft’s voice and data recorders is intensifying.

“We are at the first days of the research under water, research which is focused on the time being on the recorders and more precisely the beacon, the acoustic beacon which is fitted to the recorders,” he said.

Investigators are using manned and unmanned submarines to search the crash site, which is spread over more than 230 kilometres, located about 640 kilometres northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands.

The ocean floor where the debris has been spotted drops as low as 7,000 metres below sea level.

As of Tuesday, 50 bodies have been recovered. Brazilian authorities are carrying out autopsies on the remains, but have not released any information so far.

It is important that they have pieces from all over the aircraft. This allows many possible causes to be eliminated, for example, the total lack of any residue from a fire or explosion makes those two causes unlikely. Obviously they really want those data recorders, but there are miles of sea floor to scan.

Update: the CBC has added some information on the autopsies that indicate that the aircraft broke up in the air. This is very preliminary.