As search intensifies, fate of Air France 447 remains a mystery

Rescuers searching a vast swath of Atlantic waters for signs of wreckage from Air France Flight 447, which disappeared Monday in an area of intense thunderstorms, say they have found airplane debris off the coast of Brazil. Officials have yet to confirm that the findings are that of the Airbus A330. Though one French official said the chance of finding survivors is "very very small, even nonexistent," investigators are eager to recover the Airbus A330's two black boxes, which can emit signals for up to 30 days. The plane's computers sent out automated reports of electrical damage, but they were not sent as distress calls, and the crew never reported any emergency. Early speculation has centered on a debilitating lightning strike, but the four-year-old aircraft was equipped with an emergency generator to power critical systems after an electrical failure. Experts say it has been more than three decades since a large U.S. jetliner was brought down by lightning.

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