Brazil's government has confirmed that wreckage found in the Atlantic Ocean belongs to the Air France flight that disappeared shortly after take-off late Sunday. Brazilian crews are still searching the area for bodies of the passengers on board.
Brazil's Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said he no longer had any doubt that Air France flight 447 crashed off Brazil's coast. He said officials made the determination following the discovery of a strip of wreckage floating on the surface of the water some 1,300 kilometers off the Brazilian mainland.
Jobim said a military plane found the wreckage in a strip covering five kilometers of water, which confirms the plane went down in that area.
Brazilian officials said the debris included metal fragments, plane seats as well as a jet fuel slick. However, no bodies have been discovered from the plane carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members.
Jobim said the objective of military airplanes and ships in the area would be to recover those bodies.
Jobim said France's government had been advised that the search for bodies was underway, and that any French search personnel could join the Brazilian operation.
The defense minister added that flight recorders could be on the ocean floor, which he said was at a depth of at least 2,000 meters in the area of the crash.
Voice and flight data recorders are often crucial for investigators to understand how weather conditions or crew actions may have contributed to an air crash.
Air traffic controllers say they received no unusual messages or distress calls from the crew of the Airbus 330 before it disappeared. Air France officials, however, said the aircraft's automated systems sent a series of messages about electrical problems to maintenance personnel. The airline said the plane had entered service in 2005, making it relatively new.