Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 21:57 UK

Jet crash bodies arrive in Brazil

Some of the bodies from the Air France crash have been recovered

The first bodies recovered from the Air France plane which crashed into the Atlantic last week have been returned to Brazil, officials say.

The remains were taken by helicopter to Fernando de Noronha, off the coast of Brazil.

Officials say 28 bodies have now been recovered from the Atlantic, up from 16. A total of 228 people were on the plane when it went down on 1 June.

Earlier, a search team recovered a large tail section from the ocean.

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

The bodies that have been found will later be moved to the Brazilian city of Recife, where a temporary mortuary has been established.

A recovered section of the Air France jet, attached to a Brazilian navy vessel, 9 June (image from Brazilian air force website)

Investigators hope they can use dental records and DNA tests to confirm identities. DNA samples have been taken from relatives of the plane's passengers to help with the process.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says his country will do all it can to retrieve more bodies.

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

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 on Monday.

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.

Sensor theory

The US is sending two sophisticated listening devices to Brazil to help in the search for the plane's "black box" data recorders.

The devices, which can detect signals from the black boxes up to a depth of 20,000ft (6,100m), will be taken to two French tugs on site. 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.

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

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

French officials have said the 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

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific