Recovered Debris Not From 447 Crash

Brazilian military reverses prior reports as jet's maker warns about airspeed.

ByABC News
June 5, 2009, 7:25 AM

June 5, 2009 — -- With weekend vigils planned for the passengers of missing Air France flight 447, Brazilian and French officials remained at odds Friday about what clues and remnants of the missing jetliner lie in the Atlantic Ocean.

Heavy rain and poor visibility today is complicating the search for the plane the missing Air France flight that vanished Sunday with 228 people onboard. It is the latest setback in the increasingly daunting search for the missing jetliner some 700 miles off Brazil's coast.

On Thursday night, Brazil's military announced that despite earlier reports to the contrary, pieces of debris pulled out of the ocean Thursday were not from the missing plane. Brazil authorities still believe they have located parts of the plane -- including a 23-foot chunk of plane, an airline seat and several large brown and yellow pieces that likely came from inside the plane, military officials said -- but they have not pulled them out of the ocean.

"French authorities have been saying for several days that we have to be extremely prudent," countered France's Transportation Minister Dominique Bussereau on France's RTL radio Friday. "Our planes and naval ships have seen nothing."

The confusion calls into question whether any of the debris searchers have spotted from the air is from the missing aircraft.

A team of searchers Thursday had picked up what appeared to be standard airplane emergency equipment, a cargo pallet and two buoys, and initial reports suggested the items might have been from the crashed plane.

But later, Brazilian military officials said debris recovered so far some 400 miles from Brazil's Fernando de Noronha islands was not from the missing Airbus. For one thing, the plane was not carrying wooden luggage pallets, The Associated Press reported.

"No material from the flight was removed," Brazilian Air Force Gen. Ramon Cardoso said. "What we saw was debris that belonged to some aircraft that were left behind because we have a priority on the search [for] bodies. But so far, no piece of the aircraft has been found."

Ceremonies for the passengers on flight 447 get underway in France this weekend, including an international Sunday service at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Another service will be held Saturday at Roissy-en-France church, a diocese that had four people on board the flight, according to Air France.

The memorials come as France this weekend sends additional high-tech equipment to help hunt for clues. A French nuclear submarine that can travel underwater at 25 knots is on the way to help search for the plane's black boxes, and is expected to arrive on site next week. Also on the way is a French search and exploration ship carrying robots that can plunge about 20,000 feet underwater to help recover wreckage.