Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim confirmed on Tuesday that the Air France Airbus crashed at approximately 400 miles from the Fernando de Noronha archipelago.
According to the minister, the Brazilian air force found metal and non-metal debris in over 3 mile stretch of sea off the coast of Fernando de Noronha archipelago following a search of 6,115 square miles.
Jobim said the fact that the debris was found over a 3 mile stretch of sea was “sufficient” to confirm it belonged to flight AF-447.
The minister added that “it is impossible to assume that the tide could have dragged 3 miles of debris from the beach” he also said this evidence leads us to confirm it's the remains of the Air France plane.
Jobim meeting with victims’ families in Rio de Janeiro expressed his condolences on behalf of the Brazilian government to the families of the passengers.
The final list of passenger names has not yet been released as some families of the victims asked for names to be withheld; the final list is therefore likely to be incomplete according to the minister.
The search for any survivors as well as collection of the plane's remains will continue, Mr. Jobim said.
Three merchants ships, two Dutch and one French, are already in the area and will be joined by Brazilian navy frigates starting tomorrow, said the defense minister. Helicopters are standing by should survivors be located.
Brazilian authorities plan to establish response centers in the city of Recife and on the island of Fernando de Noronha to receive any wreckage and corpses.
Searchers will also be looking for the plane's black boxes, or flight data recorders, which could contain clues as to the cause of the accident, which occurred as the plane was cruising at 35,000 feet through stormy weather
The debris was initially discovered using radar, which detected metallic material in the ocean at around 1 a.m. Tuesday. Later in the morning, at 6:49 a.m., pilots of a second plane visually spotted floating debris
According to Air France, passengers from 32 nationalities were on board including French, Italian, Brazilian and German.