The French Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) confirmed Sunday that the search team on board the vessel Alucia had located major portions of the Air France Airbus 330 that crashed into the Atlantic en route to Paris-Charles de Gaulle from Rio de Janeiro on 1 June 2009. The crash of Flight AF447 killed all 228 passengers and crew on board.
The current search is the fourth since the crash and is being carried out using a salvage vessel equipped with unmanned submersibles.
''This discovery, coming only days after the Air France- and Airbus-funded fourth sea search was launched, is good news indeed since it gives hope that information on the causes of the accident, so far unresolved, will be found,'' Air France said in statement. ''Answers will perhaps therefore be found to the questions that, since 1 June 2009, families of the victims, our airline and the aviation community worldwide have asked as to how this tragic accident occurred.''
Ina significant finding, the BEA said, it had found a large part of the plane's wreckage, including the engine and parts of the fuselage and this would appear to confirm that AF447 hit the water largely intact.
According to media reports, there were human remains inside.
Reports cited environment minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet as saying: ''We have more than just traces, we have bodies ... Identification is possible.''
Also, transport minister Thierry Mariani confirmed ''…that bodies have been seen, but given the sensitive nature of the subject we prefer to keep certain details for the families.'' He added that the families of the victims would be informed at a meeting scheduled for the end of the week and no further details would be made public before then.