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Bodies of Air France victims arrive back on home soil

The bodies of 104 victims of the Air France flight which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago arrived on home turf today.

A long process of identification is now expected after the bodies were transported to the port of Bayonne, on the southwest coast of France.

The body of one of the Irish victims, Jane Deasy, a 27-year-old doctor from Rathgar in Dublin, was recovered during the original search operation.

Dr Aisling Butler (26) of Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and Dr Eithne Walls (28) from Ballygowan, Co Down, also died in the crash.

Families of the crash victims are divided over whether to retrieve the bodies of their kin, or leave them on the seabed where they have been relatively well preserved due to cold temperatures and high water pressure.

The first few bodies recovered from the wreckage have been reasonably well preserved, despite suffering some damage as they were lifted off the seabed.

Investigators are hopeful they will be able to identify all the bodies with the aid of medical and dental records, as well as DNA information.

The analysis of "black box" flight recorders from the Air France plane has shed light some light on the circumstances of the crash.

However, investigators have yet to decide whether crew or faulty machinery were to blame.

The aircraft plunged out of control for four minutes before crashing into the ocean, raising questions over the way crew handled what appeared to be a "stall alarm" emergency, according to data retrieved from the black boxes.

They showed the pilot was absent from the cockpit and a 32-year-old junior pilot had pulled the aircraft's nose up as it became unstable.