Helicopters can't get to debris field. Brazilian navy ships won't arrive until Wednesday morning.
Updated at 4:40 pm
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - Another day of waiting?
Brazilian officials say that they will likely not be able to pick up the debris found in the Atlantic Ocean until Wednesday.
But Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the size of the debris field – 3-mile (5-kilometer) path of wreckage – confirms that the Air France jet crashed in the sea.
As reported earlier Tuesday, Brazilian Air Force search planes spotted “an orange buoy or life vest, an aircraft seat, a drum, kerosene and oil” floating in the ocean near the location where Air France flight 447 last reported its position Monday before disappearing.
But now media reports here say the Brazilian navy doesn't have helicopters that can reach the debris so the task will be left to ships, according to Brazilian navy sources .
Three Brazilian navy vessels are on their way to the area where the debris was spotted on Tuesday morning around 1000 kilometers (650 miles) off the northeast coast of Brazil.
Three merchant ships, one French and two Dutch, are close by, with the farthest just 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the crash site, according to Folha Online, a Brazilian website.
Brazilian officials have spoken to the ships’ captains and given them the coordinates of the wreckage that was spotted earlier Tuesday.
The ships are heading to the area now, but officials could not say if they have the cranes or other equipment necessary to pull the debris from the water.
A Brazilian navy patrol boat is scheduled to arrive at the site around 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning, Folha Online reports. A Brazilian frigate and another vessel will arrive 24 hours later.
The Brazilian Air Force said they had 10 aircraft involved in the search, including three Hercules 130 planes and Blackhawk and Super Puma helicopters. An American P-3 plane will join in the rescue operation Wednesday.