|The Ile-de-Sein carried the remains of 104 victims from the Air France flight A447 [Reuters]|
The remains of 104 people killed in the 2009 Air France plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean have been brought to France for identification.
The Ile-de-Sein salvage ship carried the bodies in two containers and the wreckage from Flight 447 in another two, after they were recovered from depths of more than 3,000 metres under the sea.
The containers arrived at the Atlantic port of Bayonne on Thursday under heavy military and police protection, with the harbour closed off to onlookers out of respect for the victims’ families.
The bodies will be sent to Paris for DNA testing while the wreckage will go to Toulouse for analysis.
Jean-Baptiste Audousset, who represents a victims’ relatives group, said on Wednesday that the boat’s arrival could prove traumatic.
Some relatives will want to receive bodies that are not in the cargo, while others would have preferred for their loved ones to have remained on the ocean floor.
Police said it would take at least a week to identify the victims.
“The aim is to hand over the bodies to the families as quickly as possible,” authorities said in a statement.
All 228 people on board the Airbus died when it crashed en route from Rio de Janiero to Paris. The cause of the crash still remains unclear.
The plane’s black box flight recorders were also recovered with the bodies.
Based on initial information from the recorders, investigators say the pilots, confronted with faulty instrument readings and alarms going off in the cockpit, struggled to tame the aircraft as it went into an aerodynamic
stall, rolled, and finally plunged 38,000 feet in just three and a half minutes.
A full investigators’ report on the crash is expected in July.