A330 search team retrieves Air France debris and two bodies

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Brazilian naval and air command authorities searching for the missing Air France Airbus A330 have retrieved two bodies from the ocean, as well as the first debris firmly linked with the carrier.

A leather briefcase with an Air France air ticket has been plucked from the water, two hours after a naval corvette recovered a blue seat.

While Air France has yet to confirm formally that the seat's serial number is consistent with those on the A330, the carrier says the latest discoveries are "of capital importance to everyone".

It states: "Following the announcement by the Brazilian authorities that bodies have been found, Air France wishes to express its deep sadness to the families and friends of the passengers and crew lost on flight AF447."

The early-morning sightings came from an Embraer R-99 remote-sensing aircraft, part of the airborne fleet searching for the A330.

Its crew pinpointed areas of interest 69.5km northwest of the co-ordinates at which the A330's communications systems transmitted several failure messages on 1 June.

After calling in a Lockheed C-130 and the corvette to the location, the debris and bodies of two males were collected in the area, along with a bag with a vaccination card.

Flight AF447 had been transporting 216 passengers and 12 crew members between Rio de Janeiro and Paris Charles de Gaulle when contact was lost shortly before it left Brazilian oceanic airspace.