First body retrieved from Air France wreck in Atlantic

5th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

An undersea recovery team has retrieved a first body from the wreck of an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 with the loss of all 228 on board, French police said Thursday.

"Having remained submerged for two years at a depth of 3,900 metres the remains, still attached to a seat from the aircraft, appears to be in a degraded state," the gendarmerie said in a statement.

The remains of some of the passengers were found floating in the ocean after the crash, but many more are missing and it is thought that some of these could be in the wreckage two-and-half miles below the surface.

A French recovery crew equipped with mini-submarines is at the site, and this week recovered black box flight data recorders that might provide clues as to why flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went down.

Relatives for the victims have demanded that all the bodies be recovered from the wreck, but the police statement warned that the deep-water operation faces "highly complex and unprecedented conditions."

"The technical feasibility of raising the bodies remains highly uncertain," the statement said, adding that the first body had been secured on board the search ship Ile de Sein in waters midway between Brazil and Africa.

© 2011 AFP

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