The Brazilian air force announced Monday that search crews have recovered a total of 24 bodies to date and the aircraft tail from the Air France that crashed into the Atlantic a week ago with 228 people on board.

Brazilian divers today recovered the largest piece of debris yet from the Air France plane that disappeared over the Atlantic over a week ago.

The discovery of the jetliner's tail fin could offer important clues as to why the Airbus 330 crashed the night of May 31 with 228 people on board, and possibly help pinpoint the location of the flight's black boxes.

The black boxes are located in a jetliner's fuselage beneath the tail, helping divers narrow their search for the units, which digitally record flight data and cockpit conversations. Officials said recovering bodies was their top priority, but they were also preparing to launch an intensive search for the black boxes.

The Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said his country would do everything it could to find more bodies: We know how significant it is for a family to recover their loved one. During this painful time it's not going to resolve the problem, but it is an immense comfort to know they can bury their loved ones.