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Plane debris found in path Air France jet took

MARCO SIBAJA
Associated Press Writer

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) ó An airplane seat, a life jacket, metallic debris and signs of fuel were found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday by Brazilian military pilots searching for a missing Air France airliner.

The debris was spotted from the air about 410 miles (650 kilometers) north of the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, roughly along the path that the jet was taking before it disappeared with 228 people on board, said Air Force spokesman Jorge Amaral.

There were no signs of life in two sightings of separate debris areas about 60 kilometers (35 miles) apart.

“The locations where the objects were found are towards the right of the point where the last signal of the plane was emitted,” Amaral said. “That suggests that it might have tried to make a turn, maybe to return to Fernando de Noronha, but that is just a hypothesis.”

Amaral said authorities would not be able to confirm that the debris is from the plane until they can retrieve some of it from the ocean for identification. Brazilian military ships are not expected to arrive at the area until Wednesday.

The discovery came more than 24 hours after the jet bound from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went missing, with all feared dead.

Rescuers were still scanning a vast sweep of ocean extending from far off northeastern Brazil to waters off West Africa. The 4-year-old Airbus A330 was last heard from at 0214 GMT Monday (10:14 p.m. EDT Sunday).

Investigators on both sides of the ocean were trying to determine what brought it down. Potential causes included shifting winds and hail from towering thunderheads, lightning or a combination of other factors.

An automatic message sent from the plane just before it disappeared said that the plane was losing pressure and had experienced an electrical failure.

____

Associated Press Writers Bradley Brooks and Alan Clendenning contributed from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

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