Brazil families encouraged by Air France find

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An association that represents families of victims of a 2009 Air France crash in the Atlantic said news that bodies had been found in the plane's submerged wreckage was "very encouraging."

Investigators in Paris said three robot submarines had located the wreckage of the A330 and bodies had been seen in the remains of the plane's cabin.

"It's very encouraging for us who have been without news and and now have hope of retrieving the bodies. We can finally bury them," said Nelson Marinho, president of the association of relatives of the victims.

The Air France jet crashed in June 2009 in the Atlantic off Brazil on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people aboard.

In the latest search, launched March 25, investigators focused on finding the plane's wreckage, and on Sunday finally succeeded.

French Transport Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said three Remus autonomous submarines had photographed bodies in a large section of the cabin that remained intact.

"Everything did not explode... there's a part of the cabin and in this part of the cabin, there are bodies," she told France Inter public radio.

Marinho expressed hope that the find will help establish what happened to the A330 before it suddenly plummeted into the sea.

Three previous attempts to locate the plane's "black box" recorders failed, but investigators now hope that the plane's wreckage will lead them to the voice and data recorders.

He said France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) has invited representatives of the families of victims to Paris in about 15 days for a meeting.

© 2011 AFP

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