Bodies and Wreckage from Air France Plane Found in Atlantic

AP Photo

French officials are saying a "large part" of the Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, including some remains of the 228 people on board, has been located by undersea robots.

Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet announced today "more than just traces" of human remains were found in parts of the fuselage, and that "identification is possible."

"We have bodies... there are bodies that are still in the parts that have been found," Kosciusko-Morizet told reporters during a news conference today.

It is likely specialists will begin pulling up bodies and wreckage from the Air France plane within a month. Kosciusko-Morizet says the bodies will be brought to the surface and then identified.

Investigators say the black box flight recorders have not yet been found. Without the recorders, the cause of the crash may never be determined.

Still, Jean-Paul Troadec, head of the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), tells Radio France he believes the discovery over the weekend is the main part of the wreckage.

"It seems that we have discovered the wreckage site. Up until now we have only found a few elements of debris floating on the surface," says Troadec.

On June 1, 2009 the flight en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris ran into an intense high-altitude thunderstorm and plunged into the ocean, killing all 228 people on board.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – the Massachusetts-based team that also discovered the Titanic wreckage in 1986 – conducted the underwater search and found the wreckage off the coast of Brazil.

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