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Flight 447 debris repatriated to France

world Updated: Jul 15, 2009 21:50 IST

Debris from Air France Flight 447 has been brought to France for further examination, the agency investigating the crash said on Thursday.

Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, more than 900 miles (1,450 km) off Brazil's northeastern coast, on June 1 as it flew from Rio de Janiero to Paris. All 228 people aboard the Airbus plane died.

A boat carrying the plane's wreckage docked in the port of Pauillac late Tuesday, said Jean-Michel Germain, a port spokesman.

The debris will be transferred to a military research center in Toulouse in southern France, said Martine del Bono, spokeswoman for the aviation agency, known by its acronym BEA.

A total of 640 parts of the plane have been plucked from the Atlantic Ocean, including a nearly intact tail, an engine cover, uninflated life jackets, seats and kitchen items.

The debris was initially held in the Brazilian city of Recife before being sent back.

A preliminary report into the crash said the plane hit the ocean intact and belly first at a high rate of speed.

Ships with high-tech listening devices searched for Flight 447's cockpit voice and flight data recorders since June 15 but found nothing. The black boxes are built to emit emergency "pings" for about 30 days, and then slowly fade away.