RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian search planes spotted debris in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday that could be wreckage of a missing Air France flight carrying 228 people that disappeared in a storm the day before, the air force said.
Military planes saw metallic objects and plane seats 650 km (400 miles) north of the islands of Fernando de Noronha near Brazil's northern coast. The area is near where the last contact was made with the Airbus A330 that took off for Paris from Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night.
The plan now is to focus our efforts to collect the debris and try to identify if they belong or not to the Air France plane, Brazilian Air Force Colonel Jorge Amaral said at a news conference.
We can't really say this is part of the airplane. The command center needs to have at least one piece of the debris with a serial number to confirm that it belongs to the airplane, Amaral said.
Air France Flight 447 flew into storms four hours after taking off from Rio, and 15 minutes later it sent an automatic message reporting electrical faults, the airline said.
Authorities from both France and Brazil, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have said they expect no survivors from the crash.
If none are found, it would be the worst disaster in Air France's 75-year history and the deadliest since one of the company's supersonic Concorde planes crashed in 2000.