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Air France: Flight 447 pilot's body retrieved

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PARIS – Search crews in the mid-Atlantic have retrieved the bodies of the chief pilot of Flight 447 and a flight attendant, Air France said Thursday.

The two are among 50 bodies pulled out of the ocean in the international search for remains of the 228 victims and wreckage of the May 31 crash.

Air France, in a statement on its Web site, said the pilot and male flight attendant have been identified but did not release their names. A pilots' union named the flight captain as Frenchman Marc Dubois.

Earlier this week the international police agency Interpol said 11 of the 50 bodies retrieved had been identified: eight Brazilians, one with joint Brazilian-German citizenship, one Brazilian-Swiss and a Briton.

On Wednesday Germany's Foreign Ministry said three Germans — two men from Bavaria and a woman from Hamburg — have been identified. The ministry did not release their names.

The Airbus A330 plane came down in the Atlantic after running into thunderstorms en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The Brazilian military has led the search and recovery efforts for bodies and debris, while the French are in charge of investigating the crash and the hunt for the flight recorders, or black boxes.

The cause of the crash is unclear. The plane's two black boxes could be key to determining what happened.

But the boxes will only continue to emit signals for a few more days. They send out an electronic tapping sound that can be heard up to 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) away.

French officials said this week that military ships searching for the wreckage have detected sounds in the Atlantic depths but they are not from the flight recorders.

Two French-chartered ships are trolling a search area with a radius of 50 miles (80 kilometers), pulling U.S. Navy underwater listening devices attached to 19,700 feet (6,000 meters) of cable. A French submarine is also searching.

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