Brazilian officials confirmed this morning that, contrary to initial reports, the debris picked up by their Air Force from the Atlantic is "sea trash" and not from the missing Air France Flight 447.
Since the revelation by Brazilian officials, search teams and the
French government have been thrown for a loop. When the Air Force first
spotted debris floating in the water—including an airplane seat, a drum and a life jacket—some 600 miles off the coast, Brazilian defense minister Nelson Jobim insisted
that it was from the doomed flight. But the military was initially
concentrating on locating possible survivors, and thus didn't have
the time to retrieve the debris and determine its origin.
Upon hearing the news, France's transportation minister, Dominique Bussereau, urged authorities to be "extremely prudent" going forth in determining whether or not debris that is recovered is from the missing plane. “The main objective is to get our hands on the black boxes, the flight data recorders,” Mr. Bussereau said. He also admitted that it was “bad news” that the Brazilian teams had been mistaken. “We would have preferred that it had come from the plane and that we had some information.”
Ramon Borges Cardoso, the director of the Air Space Control Department, confirmed to Terra.com, “We have not recovered any parts of the airplane so far.” He also said the fuel slicks spotted in the area, which had been widely reported on, were not caused by jet fuel but by oil believed to have come from a passing ship.