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Air France Finds Bodies in Atlantic Crash Wreckage

Brazilian Air Force officers look for signs of Air France flight 447 as they patrol the crash area in the open Atlantic Ocean some 745 miles (1,200 km) northeast of Recife (file photo)

French officials say unmanned submarines have located bodies during a fourth search for the wreckage of the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Brazil almost two years ago.

French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani announced the findings on France-Info radio Monday.

Air France Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic in June 2009, not long after taking off from Rio de Janeiro for Paris. The disaster killed all 228 people on board. The initial search for the wrecked Airbus found about 50 bodies.

French Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet says experts may be able to identify the newly-discovered bodies. She says the unmanned submarines found "a large part" of the plane this time, as opposed to just scattered pieces.

Experts say they hope to find the so-called black box flight recorders that could give them vital clues into what caused the plane to crash.

The plane was flying in a storm, but the exact cause of the crash has not been determined.

Experts speculate that icing on external speed sensors gave the pilots incorrect readings.

Last month, a French judge placed the European aircraft maker Airbus under investigation for possible involuntary manslaughter charges in the 2009 crash.

Airbus official Thomas Enders said the company disagrees with the judge's decision while the cause of the crash is still unknown. But people who have lost family members and friends on the fatal Air France flight 447 expressed satisfaction that a process is underway.