Agony for Brazil jet crash families
Relatives continue to hold out hope that some may have survived Air France crash.
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2009 00:57 GMT

Brazilians are mourning those thought to have died in the crash [EPA]

The life stories of some of the 228 passengers and crew of Air France Flight AF 447, which crashed into the Atlantic early on Monday on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, are beginning to emerge.

Some of the Brazilian family members are holed up in the Windsor hotel in the Barra de Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio, where Air France has doctors, nurses and mental health experts available to assist family members trying to cope with emotional trauma.

In depth

 Timeline: Air France accidents 
Profile: Airbus A330-200 

 Route map of Air France 447
Brazil passengers await fate of Air France plane
 Air France jet goes missing over Atlantic

But the pain of losing a loved one is being complicated by the fact that no bodies have been discovered.

And some family members continue to hold on to the slimmest of hopes that their loved ones may still be alive.

Nelson Faria Marinho said his son, Nelson Marinho Filho, 40, was on his way to Angola to work as an engineer on an oil platform when the plane went down.

He said he still has hopes his son is alive because he was trained in underwater crisis survival with his work on deep water platforms.

"If there was even a little chance of survival, my son would have survived," Faria Marinho said.

"That is why I want to go to the crash scene, because I have faith I can find my son," he said before bursting into tears.

Honeymoon couple

In the Rio de Janeiro offices of Viva Rio – an anti-violence non-profit organisation - colleagues are not holding out hopes of survival for Pablo Dreyfus and Ana Carolina Rodrigues.

Pablo Dreyfus and Ana Carolina Rodrigues were going on honeymoon
Dreyfus was a gun violence analyst, and one of Brazil's most senior gun control advocates.

Rodrigues worked in a Rio shantytown keeping kids out of violence.

Dreyfus was headed to Geneva for a meeting on small arms, and Rodrigues joined him because on the way back to Brazil they had planned a long-overdue honeymoon in Paris.

Dreyfus had once lived in Paris, and for years he had wanted to show his wife around the city.

"He called me as he was entering the airplane," said Antonio Bandeira, Dreyfus' boss at Viva Rio.

"And in the morning, I started to receive calls and the nightmare started."

Colleagues and friends say the couple had worked tirelessly for peace in Brazil.

"The change of the law in 2003, he wrote the entire articles of the law. It was very important. His work has saved thousand of innocent lives," said Bandeira.

The death of Rodrigues has also affected the people she worked to help.

"People in the slums are devastated with the death of Ana Carolina because she was their protector," Bandeira said.

"She was trying to make possible for them to live a life without misery, without fear, without the violence. This is so sad she is gone."

Dreyfus' office remains exactly as it was when he left it.

There are research documents piled up and books he authored on shelves. A badge from a conference he attended hangs form the wall.

A rose that a colleague left by his computer keyboard.

On his desk is a calendar, the date 'Monday June 1' is circled with a pencil.

That was the date he and his wife were expected to land in Paris on Flight AF 447.

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.