France starts recovery of bodies from Rio-Paris crash
Paris: French police on Wednesday launched a long-awaited operation aimed at retrieving the bodies of passengers of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic in 2009, a source said.
But no body has been found for the moment, the person close to the search team told a news agency.
The Airbus A330 crashed en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people aboard. Investigators announced they found the main wreckage last month at a depth of 4,000 metres (more than 13,000 feet).
French investigators on Tuesday announced that a robot submarine had retrieved the second of two cockpit voice and data recorders from the doomed airliner.
The official cause of the disaster remains unclear, but the crash has been partly blamed on malfunctioning speed sensors used by Airbus.
The European aircraft manufacturer and the airline are currently being investigated for involuntary manslaughter.
The operation is in line with France's planned schedule that was announced last month to retrieve both key plane parts and passengers' remains.
"The problem of the bodies is a little thorny. There is a traumatising aspect. We don't know in what state they are," Robert Soulas, vice-president the French association of victims' families, had said at the time.
But Brazilian relatives of the victims on Wednesday urged searchers to retrieve all remains from the ocean floor regardless of their state of decomposition, and that crucial black box data be analysed outside of France.
"We want all the bodies or body parts, whatever their status, for us to do analysis and have them given back to their families," the president of a Brazilian association of victims' families, Nelson Faria Marinho, told a news agency.