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Page last updated at 23:58 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 00:58 UK

Air France tail section recovered

Search teams recover debris from Air France plane

A Brazilian search team has recovered a large tail section of the Air France jet that crashed a week ago over the Atlantic with 228 people on board.

The Brazilian military released photos of divers securing the tail fin, which was painted with Air France colours.

Meanwhile the US is sending two sophisticated listening devices to help search for black boxes from the plane.

Brazilian officials said 24 bodies had now been recovered, an increase from the previous total of 16.

Bodies and debris from the plane have been found some 1,000km (600 miles) north-east of Brazil's Fernando de Noronha islands, where the Airbus disappeared.

The BBC's Gary Duffy, in Sao Paulo, says the search teams are likely to draw encouragement from the discovery of the plane's tail.

There had been uncertainty last week about whether some of the debris came from the plane, but our correspondent says the latest find is likely to help to move the inquiry forward.

Investigators have so far focused on whether the plane's speed sensors stopped working properly just before it crashed in turbulent weather.

French sub

The US listening devices are being flown to Brazil and will then be taken to two French tugs that will listen for signals from the plane's "black box" data recorders, the Pentagon said.

SEARCH FOR FLIGHT AF 447
1 June: Contact lost with plane over mid-Atlantic
2 June: First debris spotted from the air includes an airline seat. Brazilian defence minister says debris is from missing plane
3 June: More debris spotted, including a 7m-wide chunk of metal. Fuel slick seen on surface
4 June: Recovered buoys and pallet said to be from plane. Officials later retract statement
6 June: First two bodies, plus suitcase and backpack found, along with seat from the plane
7 June: Fourteen additional bodies recovered, taking total to 16
8 June: Large tail fin section found

They can detect signals from the black boxes up to a depth of 20,000ft (6,100m).

The boxes are capable of emitting signals for 30 days.

A French submarine is also expected to arrive this week at the crash site to help with the search.

Teams from France and Brazil are continuing to scour the site of the crash.

The bodies that have been found will be taken by ship to Fernando de Noronha, before being moved to the Brazilian city of Recife, where a temporary mortuary has been established.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said his country would do all it could to retrieve more bodies.

Discussing the possible cause of the crash, French officials have said the plane's sensors could have iced over, meaning pilots may have flown into a storm without knowing their speed.

France's Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau told French radio that such a situation could have resulted in "two bad consequences for the survival of the plane".

"Too low a speed, which can cause it to stall, or too high a speed, which can lead to the plane ripping up as it approached the speed of sound, as the outer skin is not designed to resist such speed," he said.

Air France has said it is stepping up the process of replacing speed monitors on board its Airbus planes.

The company said it first noticed problems with speed monitors a year ago and began replacing them a few weeks before the accident.

But investigators have said it is too early to say what role faulty sensors might have played in the crash.

Flight of AF 447



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