PARIS - International search teams will be sent to the Atlantic later this month to try to find wreckage from an Air France airliner that crashed into the sea last year killing all 228 people aboard, French officials said on Friday.

Three specialised search vessels, equipped to survey the rugged sea bed at depths of up to 8,000 metres (26,250 ft), will be dispatched to search an area off the coast of Brazil of some 1,500 square km (580 sq miles).

Our aim is for the searches to begin at the end of the month of February, said a spokeswoman for BEA, the authority in charge of investigating air accidents.

Air France flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, killing all aboard.

A search last year found several pieces of wreckage and 50 bodies but the black box flight recorders, which could help explain the disaster, have not been recovered and the causes of the crash remain unexplained.

Two French judges are investigating the crash and victims' families have filed civil suits alongside the criminal case for involuntary manslaughter and injury.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by James Mackenzie)