Brazil takes radar plane off Air France jet search

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Brazil takes radar plane off Air France jet search

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Jun 21, 2009 ... iot1pMtMsg

Brazil takes radar plane off Air France jet search

SAO PAULO (AFP) — Brazil's military said Saturday it was taking a specialized aircraft with on-board radar out of the search for more remains from the Air France plane disaster in the Atlantic.

The air force Embraer R-99 was being removed from the operation after nearly three weeks of flying over the zone, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off Brazil's coast, the military said in a statement.

The plane was the first to spot debris from Air France flight AF 447, using its radar during night flights over the area in the first week of June.

"The R-99 flew more than 100 hours and fulfilled a fundamental role in the operation, especially in its initial phase," the statement said.

The search operation was continuing with other aircraft and a small flotilla of Brazilian and French navy vessels, though nothing more was found Saturday.

A Brazilian sea tanker involved in the effort was bringing to shore a body, some plane debris and a small amount of passenger baggage, officials said.

Fifty bodies have been recovered from the crash zone, along with hundreds of pieces of the plane.

Hope was fading of finding more, and the search operation was being regularly evaluated by Brazil as to whether it would continue.

A separate search by a French submarine for the plane's black boxes, believed to be on the ocean's floor, was continuing. The homing beacons on the devices will only operate for around another week.

The Air France Airbus A330 carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris came down in the Atlantic on June 1. The cause of the disaster has not been determined.

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