Officials deny reports of signals heard from black boxes of Air France jet.

By Calvin Palmer

A report by the French newspaper Le Monde that signals from the black boxes of Air France Flight 447 had been detected were denied by French officials today.

The two recorders are vital to determine what happened to the Airbus A330-200 that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on May 31 after encountering severe thunderstorms en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 people on board were killed.

An aide to France’s Transport Minister said that French naval vessels searching the area have “heard sounds” but “the black boxes have not been detected”.

The French air accident investigation agency, BEA, said in a statement today that “no signals transmitted by the flight recorders’ locator beacons have been validated up to now”.

Le Monde reported on its Web site that a mini research submarine, the Nautile, was launched yesterday to search for the boxes based on a “very weak signal” from the flight recorders picked up by the French ships.

French military spokesman Christophe Prazuck said he could not confirm or deny the Le Monde report.

Officials with Ifremer, the French marine institute that operates the mini-sub could not be reached for comment.

Brazilian and American officials said that as of Sunday evening no signals from the black boxes had been picked up.

The flight data recorders will only continue to emit signals for another eight days or so.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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