The search for the wreckage and black boxes of the Air France aircraft which crashed into the Atlantic last year killing all 228 people will resume in February 2011, the French government said on Thursday.
Flight AF447, an Airbus A330, crashed into the sea between Rio de Janeiro and Paris on June 1, 2009. An initial search found wreckage and bodies but the flight recorders, which could provide clues to what happened, have not yet been located.
"The fourth search phase should start in February, 2011, in line with the hypotheses that were put forward on October 5 at the last information committee of the families," a statement from the French Transport Ministry said.
Previous search teams looking for the missing black box recorders called off operations back in May after failing to locate them.
Finding the data recorders is seen as essential to help crash experts and relatives understand why flight 447 crashed into a remote part of the Atlantic during an equatorial storm.
Speculation about the cause of the crash has focused on possible icing of the aircraft's speed sensors, which appeared to give inconsistent readings seconds before the plane vanished.