Two Bodies Recovered From Doomed Air France Flight

The first bodies have been recovered from the search area where investigators believe the doomed Air France flight went down.

Early Saturday morning, Brazilian Navy and Air Force search crews recovered two male bodies and other personal items. They include a suitcase containing a plane ticket and laptop backpack with a name tag.

The discovery was made approximately 450 miles northeast of the Fernando De Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast. The Brazilian navy will photograph the bodies and take them to the mainland for forensic tests.

Investigators have yet to recover the plane's two black boxes, but key details are emerging in the mystery surrounding the crash that killed all 228 people on board.

Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, may have been awaiting a key replacement part that could have saved the doomed jetliner.


Speed sensors known as pitot tubes give critical readings to help pilots navigate through severe weather.

Airbus had recently issued a recommendation to all its airline customers to replace the Pilot tubes on all Airbus A330 jetliners, said Paul-Louis Arslanian, head of the French investigation agency.

Inconsistencies in air speed were among the 24 automated messages Flight 447 sent in its final minutes.

The pilots may have been incorrectly adjusting the plane's speed based on the wrong information.

The automated messages also indicated confusing reports concerning the autopilot. It is not clear if the autopilot had been switched off by the pilots, or automatically shutdown due to compromised air speed readings.

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Accurate air speed readings are critical because flying too fast or two slow, especially in a severe weather such as Flight 447 encountered, can compromise the structure of the plane. A series of fatal events can cause it to break apart midair.

Investigators say it is too early to draw conclusions, but Arslanian did say, "The sensors had not been replaced" at a briefing Saturday outside Paris. "But that doesn't mean that without them the plane was dangerous."

He was careful to note that it also does not mean similar models currently operating are unsafe.

Air France Flight 447 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris last Sunday.

The plane encountered a tropical storm including thunder and lightening, but two Luftanza flights safely flew the same route both before and after Flight 447 without incident.

The head of France's weather service, Alian Ratier, said that "nothing indicates" that the Air France flight encountered a "stormy mass of exceptional intensity" for the month of June.

Only the plane's two black boxes, still missing, can provide investigators with definitive answers. The U.S. is sending sophisticated acoustic devices to the area being searched for debris and a French submarine is already en route.

President Barack Obama said Saturday that the he has authorized all of the U.S. government's resources to help investigate the crash.

The black boxes send signals for 30 days and operated 20,000 feet underwater. But deep ocean ridges and varying temperatures at the bottom of the ocean could make them impossible to recover.

Maeva Bambuck and Renata Araujo contributed to this report.