Airplane wreckage has been sighted 400 miles off the coast of Brazil’s Fernando de Noronha island by a military aircraft searching for the missing Air France flight, which disappeared over the Atlantic on 1 June.

A televised statement from Brazilian air force spokesperson Col. Jorge Amaral said that metallic objects, oil and plane seats had been sighted but it could not yet be confirmed whether the debris belonged to the missing Air France 447 flight.

Brazilian and French military aircraft have been searching the Atlantic for traces of the Airbus 330-200, which disappeared with 228 passengers and crew on board during a routine flight from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in France.

A message was received by Air France four hours into the flight to say that the plane was experiencing turbulence after flying into a storm.

Fourteen minutes later an automatic error message was received, reporting a fault in the electrical system.
The aircraft then failed to make its next radio contact which alerted Brazilian air authorities to the plane’s disappearance.

French authorities have ruled out terrorism, saying that there has been no evidence to support foul play.

The French government accepted a US offer for it to analyse data gathered by the Pentagon’s network of military satellites, Bloomberg.com reports.

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The US Department of Defense has sent a reconnaissance aircraft as well as a search and rescue team to join the effort.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been quoted as telling families of the missing at Charles de Gaulle airport that “the prospects of finding survivors are very small”.

Among the missing are passengers and crew from Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and China as well as five Britons and three Irish doctors.

By Daniel Garrun.