Air France crash death toll rises

Discovery of tail fin raises hopes rise of finding "black box" flight recorder.

    Divers found a large section of the plane's tail fin on Monday, along with eight more bodies [AFP]

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    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, said that "everything was being done ... so that we can find, if possible, all the bodies, because we know how much it means for a family to receive their lost loved one".

    Air France flight AF 447 was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board on June 1 when it disappeared off radar screens after encountering turbulent weather.

    Investigators are racing to find the aircraft's black box - the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder - as it will continue emitting a radio signal for only another three weeks.

    After this period, the instruments will be almost impossible to locate in the deep ocean, making it harder to find out what caused the crash.

    Tail fin found

    The search for the black box received a boost earlier on Monday when Brazilian navy divers recovered the tail fin of the Airbus A330 jet.

    The recovery of the fin is significant because the recorders were mounted in the tail section, and the fin's location could narrow the underwater search for them.

    A French military spokesman said a nuclear submarine would arrive in the area on Wednesday to "try to find the acoustic pings'' emitted by the black box.

    Investigators need the debris and the 'black box' to determine the cause of the crash [AFP]
    A US navy team is also flying to Brazil in an attempt to recover the box using underwater listening devices.

    It has been confirmed that the Air France aircraft broadcast a series of 24 automatic error messages as its systems shut down one-by-one in its final minutes on Monday.

    French accident investigators said the cockpit instruments were receiving conflicting speed data at the time of the incident, triggering a call by an Air France union for the airline's pilots to refuse to fly Airbus A330s and A340s until external speed and altitude monitors were replaced.

    Air France has said the icing of the monitors at high altitude has led at times to a loss of needed flying information and said on Saturday that it had accelerated existing plans to replace the airspeed-monitoring units.

    Several other airlines using A330-200 planes said on Monday they would wait for directives from manufacturer Airbus before making any equipment changes.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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