France orders deep-sea vessel to A330 search area

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France's ministry of transport has dispatched a research ship to the South Atlantic with equipment capable of searching ocean depths up to 6,000m (19,700ft) in a bid to recover any wreckage from the missing Air France Airbus A330-200.

Brazil's air force has located debris, including an aircraft seat and oil traces, around 700km north of the Fernando de Noronha islands, which increasingly points to the destruction of flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

A statement from France's transport ministry says a research and exploration ship has been ordered to the area with immediate effect in order to set up a local command centre in the framework of the continuing search.

"This ship carries...heavy equipment capable of going to 6,000m depth and able to explore more than 97% of the ocean bed area, specifically in the search area," says the ministry.