Families want all Rio-Paris crash bodies recovered

4th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Brazilian families of those who died when an Air France jet plunged into the Atlantic in 2009 said Wednesday they want all remains recovered from the ocean floor, and crucial black box data analyzed outside France.

"All the bodies must be recovered," regardless of their state of decomposition, the president of a Brazilian association of victims' families, Nelson Faria Marinho, told AFP.

French investigators announced Tuesday that a robot submarine had retrieved the second of two cockpit voice and data recorders from the doomed airliner.

The Airbus A330 crashed en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people aboard. Investigators announced they found the main wreckage last month.

Marinho, who lost his son in the accident, said he was informed by France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) that an attempt to retrieve the bodies would be made soon but that results were uncertain because of the time the bodies have spent at a depth of 4,000 meters (13,200 feet).

"But we want all the bodies or body parts, whatever their status, for us to do analysis and have them given back to their families," Marinho said.

The recovery operation was to begin by Thursday, according to a source close to the investigation.

Only about 50 of the dead were recovered from the ocean at the time of the crash, and French officials have said that many bodies are visible within the fuselage on the seabed.

But a source close to investigators expressed caution about the chances of recovering the bodies, given the length of time since the accident.

Marinho welcomed the retrieval of the black boxes but reiterated the families' request that they be analyzed "outside of France."

"The French government -- which depends on the BEA -- is too close to Air France and Airbus. The black boxes should be decrypted in a neutral country like the United States," Marinho said.

The official cause of the disaster remains uncertain, but the crash has been partly blamed on malfunctioning speed sensors used by Airbus.

The recovered black boxes may hold crucial data that could enable BEA investigators to determine the cause of the crash.

© 2011 AFP

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