More wreckage from Air France Flight 447 has turned up in the Atlantic Ocean where the Paris-bound flight went down, including the largely intact galley kitchen with drawers containing ready-to-eat meals.
The condition of more than 400 pieces off debris and the 50 bodies recovered so far has convinced investigators the Airbus broke up in the air not long after departing from Rio de Janeiro. Autopsies have revealed fractures in the legs, hips and arms of victims. A Brazilian newspaper reported yesterday that some victims were found with little or no clothing, and had no signs of burns.
According to former accident investigator Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, clothes are torn off of victims in a mid-air break-up, and that the multiple injuries were also consistent with that theory.
"Getting ejected into that kind of windstream is like hitting a brick wall - even if they stay in their seats, it is a crushing effect," Casey told the London Daily Mail. "Most of them were long dead before they hit the water."
Submarines are still searching for the black boxes containing flight data recorders, amid what lead French investigator Paul-Louis Arslanian called "one of the worst situations ever known in an accident investigation."
Also Friday, Air France officials said the airline will give about $24,000 as an advance to the families of the victims of the crash. The carrier is contacting the families of the 228 victims from 32 countries to make sure the money gets to them, Phillipe Gourgeon said in an interview broadcast Friday on RTL radio.
"We are going to be very focused on the first advance of about euro17,000 that is paid for each victim," Gourgeon said. He added that there were no strings attached to accepting the advance.
Contacting the families is no easy matter, Gourgeon said. Sometimes the only contact number for a victim is from a mobile phone that was lost in the crash.
French and U.S. officials have said there were no signs of terrorism, and Brazil's defense minister said the possibility was not considered. But France says it has not been ruled out.