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Air France Tail fin, bodies found
Published on 10 Jun. 2009 12:55 AM IST
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Brazil on Monday recovered the tail fin belonging to the Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic a week ago killing 228 people, as well as more human remains from the doomed flight. Twenty-four bodies so far have been fished out of the Atlantic, Brazilian officials said. The tail fin discovery is the most important element to date in the quest to find out why the Airbus A330 went down June 1 as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. No distress call was received from the pilots. The plane’s black boxes were mounted in the tail section, and the fin’s location could narrow the underwater search for those devices by a French submarine expected to arrive in the zone on Wednesday. A Brazilian frigate was expected early Tuesday in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago carrying the first 16 bodies along with airplane debris. Brazilian and French teams continued to scour the crash zone 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) off Brazil’s northeast coast for more bodies and pieces of wreckage. After reports that faulty airspeed sensors may have contributed to the crash of Air France Flight 477, there are reports that the airline has pledged to replace two of every three airspeed sensors on its fleet of A330 and A340 aircraft. Incorrect airspeed readings could have caused the jet to either stall and plunge to the sea or exceed its designed maximum speed causing the jet to breakup midair. As a result the jet which was flying through bad weather could have stalled and plummeted to the sea or gone too fast and broken up midair because of extreme stresses. France’s transport minister Dominique Bussereau said on the weekend that could have led the pilots to set the plane at “too low a speed, which can cause it to stall, or too high a speed, which can lead to the plane ripping up as it approached the speed of sound, as the outer skin is not designed to resist such speed.”

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