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Plane searchers spot ocean debris


An Air France Airbus A330-200 airliner (archive image)

The Airbus, like this one pictured, was flying from Rio to Paris

Brazilian aircraft searching for an Air France jet which went missing with 228 people aboard in an Atlantic storm have spotted debris on the ocean.

Plane seats and other items were sighted 650km (400 miles) north-east of Brazil’s Fernando do Noronha island, the Brazilian air force said.

It could not be immediately confirmed that the debris came from the Airbus.

The jet was heading from Brazil to Paris when it vanished about four hours into its flight, early on Monday.


Air Force spokesman Jorge Amaral said the seats had been spotted by search planes early on Tuesday.

Also spotted were small white pieces of debris, material that may be metallic and signs of oil and kerosene, which is used as jet fuel.

“The search is continuing because it’s very little material in relation to the size [of the Airbus A330],” Mr Amaral added.

Officials, he said, needed “a piece that might have a serial number, some sort of identification” to be sure it came from the missing jet.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin has stressed there is still “no evidence whatsoever” as to the cause of the plane’s loss

“We cannot, by definition, exclude a terrorist attack, because terrorism is the main threat for all Western democracies,” he added.


Plane crews from Brazil, France and other countries had narrowed their search to a zone half-way between Brazil and west Africa, hoping to pick up signals from the Airbus’s Argos beacons.

In his last radio message, at about 0200 GMT on Monday, the captain of Flight AF 447 reported entering turbulence, French media say.

Up to a dozen reports of electrical failures were sent automatically from the plane before it vanished over the ocean just after.

Most of the missing people are Brazilian or French but they include a total of 32 nationalities. Five Britons and three Irish citizens are among them.


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