Brazil says remains of missing Air France plane found
19:3002/06/2009 RIO DE JANEIRO, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - Brazil's Air Force said on Tuesday that it had found wreckage in the area that a missing Air France passenger plane last made contact.
The Air France passenger plane is believed to have gone down en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 passengers and crew on board on Monday.
"Among other debris we have found a passenger plane seat, small white plane parts, an orange buoy and traces of oil and kerosene," said Air Force spokesman Jorge Amaral. The wreckage has not yet been confirmed as being from the missing plane.
The discovery was made in the Atlantic Ocean, some 650 kilometers (390 miles) north of Brazil's Fernando de Noronha archipelago. Air France Flight 447 sent an automatic signal to airline maintenance computers from this region on Monday indicating several technical failures. No further contact was made with the aircraft.
The missing passengers include 61 French nationals, 58 Brazilians, 26 Germans, and citizens from 33 other countries. Eight children were on the plane. One Russian, Andrei Kiselyov, is believed to have been on board, but the Russian embassy in Paris has yet to confirm the information.
Lightning has been suggested as a possible cause of what, if confirmed, would be the worst plane crash since 2001. However, French authorities are refusing to rule out terrorism.
"We can't rule out a terrorist act since terrorism is the main threat to Western democracies, but at this time we don't have any element whatsoever indicating that such an act could have caused this accident," French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
The Brazilian Navy has dispatched five vessels to assist in the search effort. The operation also involves five planes, two Air Force helicopters and four merchant ships.
The government earlier sent three naval vessels to the area. Authorities say the search is "extremely difficult" due to the remote location.
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