Scroll down for updates. Last updated June 10 at 12:30 p.m. This piece will be updated several times a day.
Forty-one bodies have been found in the Atlantic thus far, two on Saturday, 14 on Sunday, eight on Monday, and 17 on Tuesday, all confirmed to have been on Air France Flight 447, Brazilian officials said Wednesday. Four have been confirmed male and four female.
The first set of bodies were found about 200 miles off the coast of the Saint Peter and Saint Paul archipelago. Tuesday’s findings were discovered 50 miles away.
Sixteen of the 41 bodies found will reach Recife today. The remains will be shipped to the Legal Medical Institute in Brasilia for investigation and identification, CNN reports. DNA samples must be taken from the relatives of the deceased to help with the investigation
The bodies of the other 25 found victims will go through the same process on Thursday, CNN reports.
Investigators hope they can use dental records and DNA samples to identify each of the found bodies.
Officials say the location of the found remains is not an indicator of the crash site, since the current in the area is very strong the bodies would no doubt have drifted far away since Monday. They are however unsure exactly how far the bodies drifted.
Just days before the first bodies were discovered, officials told families the possibility of finding any remains were extremely low. Relatives are now increasingly hopeful they will at least be reunited with their lost kin.
One CNN reporter noted that the bodies looked bloated after days of floating in the ocean.
Other items were recovered as well, about 700 miles off the coast of Brazil. They include part of the plane’s wing and tail, two seats, luggage, a life vest and a leather bag with a Flight 447 boarding pass still inside, according to CNN.
An oxygen mask was also found, which could reinforce the automated message’s claim that the plane was losing cabin pressure.
Brazilian officials say their number one priority is to find as many bodies as possible and to return them to grieving families. They are also placing much importance on finding pieces of the plane, which they say will aid in the crash investigation.
French nuclear sub arrives
France deployed a nuclear sub, the Emeraude, to help find the sunken black boxes. The sub arrived Wednesday and is actively searching for the downed plane.
Also, two American acoustic devices are to be placed aboard two French ships. The devices will try to pick up signals from the plane’s sunken recorders, still pinging at the bottom of the ocean.
The devices can search for the beacons to a maximum of 20,000 feet.
Improper speed could be plane crash culprit
Air France and French officials are in charge of finding out what caused the Air France plane to plunge into the Atlantic without any manual warning. It is currently being speculated that the plane broke up in flight.
However without the black boxes, investigators may never know for certain why the plane crashed.
The plane sent out four minutes of automated messages before going down. The messages suggest the plane may have been flying at an improper speed through a heavy storm, possibly due to malfunctioning Pitot tubes. Air France will soon replace Pitot tubes on all of its medium- and long-haul Airbus jets.
Malfunctioning Pitot tubes could have caused the Air France airliner to decelerate and accelerate too rapidly for a storm of such magnitude. The storm faced by the plane, reportedly, sucked up water from the ocean below with 100 mph updrafts. The wet air then rapidly froze at the plane’s high altitude, causing major turbulence and possibly resulting in the Pitot tubes sending improper speed readings to the jet’s on board computers.
Air France told its pilots’ unions that no Airbus A330 or A340 will take off unless two of three Pitot tubes have been replaced, CNN reports.
Plane may have broken up in-air
CBC reports the Brazilian navy has found a large piece of the tail of Flight 447. The navy revealed the vertical stabilizer – which forms part of the tail -was recovered whole in the ocean.
William Waldock, an air crash investigation professor told the Associated Press that piece has what looked like lateral damage. This would reinforce the theory that the plane broke up in-air.
“If it hits intact, everything shatters in tiny pieces,” said Waldock, CBC reports. Further examining the piece can indicate from which direction the force that caused the stabilizer to detach from the Airbus came.
As questions about Airbus A330 safety arise, several airlines have rushed to its defense.
“It is a very robust airplane. It has been flying for many years, clocking hundreds of millions of hours and there is absolutely no reason why there should be any question over this plane. It is one of the best flying today,” said Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, at a conference in Kuala Lumpur.
However on Wednesday, an Airbus A320 flying from the Canary Islands to Olso, Norway had to make an emergency landing after the pilot detected a “problem with the engine.” There were reportedly 189 passengers on board, none of whom were injured. All are expected to take another flight, though many will perhaps inquire about the make and model of their new plane.