FLIGHT 447

Plane May Have Split Midair

Two new clues have reinforced the theory that Air France Flight 447 came apart in midair, though much mystery still surrounds the tragedy that claimed the lives of all 228 people on board. The first clue is that two bodies have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean more than 50 miles apart, suggesting an airborne catastrophe. The second is that investigators, examining the last transmissions from the Air France plane, have determined that the "air speed indicator" may have malfunctioned prior to the failure of numerous other devices. If the indicator returned improper readings, the pilots could have flown "faster than the aircraft could withstand, or faster than it should (have) flown into turbulence," the New York Times reports. Meanwhile, a French nuclear submarine is on the prowl for the black box, though the odds do not look good for its discovery. The sub, along with two other vessels, are listening for the "ping" of the box, which can only be heard within three miles under "ideal conditions."