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Bad Weather Hampers Efforts to Recover Air France Crash


Brazil's air force says bad weather is hampering the search for wreckage of the Air France plane that crashed shortly after takeoff this week. Search crews said debris recovered earlier did not come from the plane.

Brazilian aviation officials say poor visibility was hampering the efforts of nearly a dozen military planes and marine vessels. Officials said search crews were under intense pressure to recover as much as possible, before Atlantic Ocean currents carried away debris and bodies.

Early Friday, officials said they had to yet retrieve any debris which they could confirm as having come from Air France flight 447.

Air force brigadier general Ramon Cardoso said search crews spotted an airplane seat and a jet fuel slick earlier in the week, but did not have time to recover the items.

Cardoso said the initial goal of search teams was to recover bodies or survivors, and not debris from the airplane. He said now crews were returning to retrieve debris, because time was running out to recover anything from the crash.

Officials are especially anxious to locate the main wreckage of the plane which would contain the flight data recorders which could help determine what caused the crash of the Airbus A330.

Tuesday, Brazil's defense minister said search teams had picked up items from a debris field covering a five-kilometer area. But officials later said most of the debris was garbage, and experts could not confirm the origin of other items.

France has sent search planes and boats to the area about 1100 kilometers off Brazil's northeast coast to aid in the recovery effort.

Thursday, relatives and friends of the 228 victims of the plane crash gathered at a church in Rio de Janeiro for a memorial service.

Marten Vanz, whose brother was on the plane, said some people are growing frustrated at the pace of recovery efforts.

Vanz said family and friends have lost all hope that anyone survived the crash, and now they simply want to recover the bodies.

Air France officials say they are still unsure what caused the jetliner to crash as it entered a tropical storm on the way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The airplane manufacturer issued an advisory Thursday about proper procedures for handling the plane in storm conditions.

Some aviation experts suspect the plane's air speed sensors may have malfunctioned as it encountered turbulence caused by the storm.

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