Oscar Maldonado, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The bodies of four more victims of the fallen Air France Flight 447 have been recovered by members of the Brazilian Navy. So far, the body recovery count reaches 28.
Search and recovery activities of bodies and airplane pieces are taking place between 500 and 700 miles northwest of the São Pedro and São Paulo islets, which lie 600 miles away from the Brazilian mainland.
The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha – roughly 200 miles away from the Brazilian mainland- has been the operations center for logistics efforts in recovering more bodies and to search for more pieces of the airliner that plunged into the Atlantic sometime between the night of the 31st of May and the early hours of June 1st. The plane was on route from Rio’s Tom Jobim International Airport bound to Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport.
Some of the victim’s relatives have been accompanying the search from the city of Recife. They expect to get first hand information of the developments. Regarding the found bodies, authorities have begun a process of early identification. Therefore they are transported to Fernando de Noronha and then to Recife, where they are tagged, searched for any kind of noticeable marks or identifications and the stored in a cold room for preservation.
Along with the airplane parts, items such as life vests, plane seats and a briefcase with a boarding pass inside have been found. This has lead Brazilian authorities and French officials from Air France to state that there are no survivors from flight 447.
However, search activities for bodies and others parts might take time and effort. “Debris from plane accidents doesn’t normally float indefinitely, so if they keep sinking, we will no be able to get them”, explained Brazilian Air Force General Ramon Cardoso.
As to the location of the black box, French equipment such as mini submarines carrying underwater search devices are trying to locate it. Oceanic currents stand as one of the main problems to pin point the location of it. The possibility that the black box may be well below 10,000 feet of water could bring greater difficulties in retrieving it.
Local authorities and specialists still haven’t come to a concluding answer as to the reasons for the incident. However, as more pieces are recovered from the water, more clues can arise to explain the accident.
As of now, pieces pulled from the ocean show no indications that the airplane exploded in mid-air of that caught fire whilst flying over the Atlantic. However, there have been some serious accusations about known malfunctions of speed and weather sensors on the Airbus A330-200 series model and Air France’s failure to replace the troubling parts.
Added pressure to the France’s flagship airline company arose due to union conflicts: workers and pilots aren’t sure about flight safety. As a result, the airline has ensured that all technical issues are being addressed, including the installation of newer and better speed sensors on the fleet.