In the latest investigation, eight more bodies have been found in the Atlantic Ocean, with the total recovered from Air France flight 447 reaching to 29
In addition, investigators also recovered the vertical stabilizer from the tail section of the airliner, said Air Force Col Henry Munhoz, a spokesman for the Brazilian airforce..
With recovery of jet’s more and more debris and the bodies, search crews are stepping towards streamlining their investigation for the jet’s black boxes, perhaps investigators’ best hope of learning what happened to the flight. The data and voice recorders are located in the fuselage near the tail section of the jet.
According to William Waldock, who teaches air crash investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, it does not mean that the black boxes will necessarily be located near where the debris was recovered, “but finding the tail narrows down the area even further.”
Though Brazilian military officials declined to provide details regarding the large pieces of the plane recovered, a video on the Brazilian air force website entitled “Vertical Stabiliser Found” shows video of the piece – which keeps the plane’s nose from swinging from side to side – being located and tethered to a ship.
The part had Air France’s blue-and-red stripes, was still in its original triangular shape and was not visibly burned.
Waldock, who examined the photos and video of the stabiliser and rudder, said that the damage he saw looks like a lateral fracture.
“That would reinforce the idea that the plane broke up in flight,” he said. “If it hits intact, everything shatters in tiny pieces.”
No signs of burn marks on the stabiliser offered scant clues: Any explosion or fire in the fuselage would likely not make its way back to the tail section, according to Mr Waldock. Examining the fracture surfaces will also be key, he said, since it will indicate from what direction the force came that snapped the piece.