Search teams regroup for third AF447 hunt

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Recovery specialists expect to be able to search nearly 80km² (30mi²) of ocean per day during the latest effort to locate the wreck of Air France flight AF447.

Resources are being regrouped for a third attempt, which starts next week, to establish the site of the 1 June 2009 crash and retrieve the Airbus A330's flight recorders.

The search teams will use deep-towed sonar and underwater equipment including a CURV 21, an XLX 4000 and three Remus 6000 vehicles.

Two of the Remus vehicles will be sourced via the Waitt Institute for Discovery. The institute was last year involved in the search for the Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft flown by pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, lost in 1937.

That search was undertaken in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For the AF447 hunt, says the institution's director of special projects, David Gallo, the combined equipment should enable the searchers to scour some 80km² daily.

"The terrain will be extremely rugged and the search will be difficult," he says. But he is confident that, "given the necessary time", the A330 will be located. The search is currently expected to last a month.