17 more bodies recovered from crashed French plane

SoPaulo, June 08:Search teams Sunday recovered the bodies of 17 people from the Air France plane that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean with 228 people on board June 1, a Brazilian Air Force spokesman said.

While Brazilian teams retrieved nine bodies, French teams recovered eight, Brazilian Air Force spokesman Henry Munhoz said in the northeastern city of Recife.

He said four of the bodies were male and four female, but didn’t identify the sex of the remaining nine victims.

Munhoz said other bodies and hundreds of objects had been sighted in the area, about 1,200 km northeast of the Brazilian coastline, and that the priority was to recover the victims.

There was “no doubt” that the debris and the bodies came from the missing plane, he said.

The bodies and plane wreckage were being taken to the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha and were due to arrive there Monday. From there, they would be transported to Recife.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon Sunday named an ambassador for the victim’s families, his office announced.

Pierre-Jean Vandoorne is to assist the relatives of the 216 passengers from 32 countries and 12 crew members who died in the accident in their dealings with governments, bureaucracies and Air France.

Vandoorne would also try to facilitate cooperation between French authorities and officials in the countries affected by the crash.

An intensive search for the other victims and for the aeroplane itself is under way in the area, with 15 planes – nine Brazilian, five French and one American – Fillon’s office said.

There are also seven ships involved in the search, and the French nuclear-powered submarine Emeraude is expected to arrive in the area Wednesday.

Many personal items have also been recovered from the sea, including a leather suitcase, a backpack containing a laptop and a ticket for the fatal flight AF 447.

The airliner, an Airbus A330-200, disappeared mysteriously early June 1 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.INAS