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France-Brazil AF447

Black box search begins

Article published on the 2009-06-10 Latest update 2009-06-10 10:44 TU

Brazilian Air Force carry the body of a victim of Air France Flight 447 (Credit: Reuters)

Brazilian Air Force carry the body of a victim of Air France Flight 447
(Credit: Reuters)

A French nuclear submarine is starting a systematic search off Brazil's northeast coast on Wednesday in an effort to find and recover the black box from Air France flight 447, which crashed on 1 June, killing all 228 aboard. The submarine will cover 36 kilometres by 36 kilometres per day, which will take a day to survey, according to the French military.

"It will change zone every day and no time limit has been set," said military spokesman Captain Christophe Prazuck. A naval command and control ship with helicopters will also accompany the submarine, he added.

The searchers plan to investigate some 1,100 kilometres off of Brazil's northerwestern coast. The black box, which is really bright orange, is equipped with a homing device that will send out a signal for a month.

If the signal is located, a French research vessel will launch a mini submarine to retrieve the recorders.

The box, which contains the data and voice recorders from the flight, is believed to lie up to 6,000 metres below the surface.

Brazilian teams have already recovered 41 bodies and some debris from the wreckage. The bodies were photographed for any distinguishing features, such as tattoos or piercings, and then were to be flown to the coastal city of Recife for formal identification.

Interpol is assisting the identification process due to the international mix of people-- some 32 nationalities-- on the doomed flight.

The crash is considered the worst since 2001.