At least some of the bodies recovered from the Air France crash this month had broken bones, Brazilian authorities have told French investigators, evidence that suggests the flight broke apart before hitting the ocean.
Paul-Louis Arslanian, director of the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses, the French accident investigation board, said Thursday that Brazilian medical examiners had given that information to his agency. Asked whether the information included reports that the recovered bodies from Flight 447 had fractures to arms, legs and hips, and few had any clothing, Arslanian said yes. All of that, aviation experts have said, points to a mid-air rupture of the plane at about 35,000 feet. There is still no explanation of what brought down the Airbus A330, which was en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, France when it crashed in the Atlantic on June 1. Watch more wreckage recovered from crash » Arslanian pleaded Thursday for the media and the public to stop speculation about the cause of the Air France crash. A major Brazilian newspaper reported this week that 95 percent of the bodies so far had shown fractures in the legs, arms and hips similar to injuries found in people who fall from great heights. The newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo cited unnamed officials who are part of the investigation.
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Another clue is the low incidence of cranial trauma, the newspaper reported. If the aircraft had nose-dived into the ocean, victims would have more head injuries, the paper said.
A large number of bodies also had red lesions in their mucous membranes, which the paper said is usually associated with asphyxia, or lack of oxygen. Another major Brazilian newspaper, the Jornal do Brasil, cited information from an unnamed person from the Brazilian military who has access to the teams working in the recovery of the plane. This person told the paper that bodies were found “mutilated” with no clothing, a strong indication of violent depressurization caused by a structural rupture.