Brazil's military has said it had ended its search for more bodies and debris from an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic nearly four weeks ago.
The 26-day operation, which also had the help of French vessels and French, Spanish and US aircraft, recovered 51 bodies of the 228 people who were on board the Airbus A330 that came down on June 1, air force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Henry Munhoz told reporters late yesterday.
"It has been nine days since we have located bodies," stressed Munhoz, which led Brazil to conclude that "it is impossible to recover more dead bodies or remains in the search area."
Between June 12 and 26, only two bodies were recovered, the last being on June 17, he said. The bodies were handed over to federal police experts in Recife for identification.
"What we have today in the sea is negligible," Munhoz added, speaking in the northeastern city of Recife.
More than 600 pieces have also been recovered from the plane, most of which has been delivered to a French-led technical research team.
But a search will continue for the aircraft's black boxes that are set to continue emitting homing signals until July 2. The search is to be led by France, which has already contributed a nuclear submarine and ships to the effort.
The cause of the disaster has not been established.