Brazilian military planes found a 5-km path of wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean, confirming that an Air France jet carrying 228 people crashed in the sea, Defence Minister Nelson Jobim has said.
Jobim told reporters in Rio de Janeiro that the discovery "confirms that the plane went down in that area," hundreds of kilometres from the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.
"There isn't the slightest doubt that the debris is from the Air France plane," Jobim said yesterday.
He said the strip of wreckage included metallic and nonmetallic pieces, but did not describe them in detail. No bodies were spotted in the crash of the Airbus A330 in which all aboard are believed to have died.
The discovery came just hours after authorities announced they had found an airplane seat, an orange buoy and signs of fuel in a part of the Atlantic Ocean where ocean depths range from less than 1,610 meters to more than 4,800 meters.
Jobim said recovery of the plane's cockpit voice and data recorders and other wreckage could be difficult because much of the wreckage sank.
"It's going to be very hard to search for it because it could be at a depth of 2,000 meters or 3,000 meters in that area of the ocean," Jobim said.
The initial discovery of wreckage announced before Jobim spoke came about 36 hours after the jet went missing as it flew from Rio de Janeiro toward Paris.