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Air France Debris Found, Black Box Recorder Missing

PARIS -- June 3, 11:00 am -- Paul-Louis Arslanian, director of France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis spoke with the media today about the ongoing investigation of the tragic Air France flight 447, which went down over the Atlantic Ocean with 228 passengers, from more than 30 countries, on board.

Describing the catastrophe as the "worst in our history" Arslanian promised a transparent investigation. The inquiry, he said, will take a long time and information will be released only when the airline has something definite to say. "We will speak only when something is established," Arslanian said, "It is essential that we check everything."

Although the accident took place over international waters, the country of the airline's origin is responsible for conducting an independent investigation and Arlansian insured that their inquiry does not contradict steps taken by legal authorities. "We are coordinating with legal and state authorities," he said.

The inquiry began late Monday, the day of the accident, and involves four working groups:

1. To find the wreck's flight recorder
2. To investigate the maintenance and history of the plane
3. To investigate the operations of the plane
4. A systems study of the plane's equipment

They have found no information thus far that would suggests a structural problem with the plane.

Arlansian is not optimistic about recovering the flight recorder. "This accident took place in the middle of the Arlantic Ocean, a scene with great variations," he said, explaining that at that location of the debris field the ocean is extremely deep and the seabed is mountainous. Although the debris field has been located, he explained, "We cannot say exactly where the wreck is." The black box recorder emits a radio signal, but only for a month. And before they can find the recorder, they must locate the wreckage.

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