"It's real ugly," said Craig Sanford, operator of a whale-watching boat that was one of the first vessels on the scene. "You see styrofoam floating, chunks of wood, panels, the odd body here and there. It's not a nice scene."
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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say among the search vessels in the water is HMCS Preserver, a large military vessel. Also helping in the recovery effort are two fast rescue craft and a number of local fishing vessels.
Reports from the scene describe a debris field over a very large area. Choppy seas, rain, and poor visibility are hampering the search. Crash investigators report that one larger portion of the fuselage has been found at the scene, raising the possibility there are bodies inside.
A spokesperson for the Halifax Rescue Coordination Center says there are six helicopters, three aircraft, along with the HMCS Preserver. In order to find bodies, the helicopters are dropping a buoy, which floats like a person; this helps to get information on currents and tide in the area. It is designed to float like a person.
Canadian Transportation Safety Board Director John Maxwell says the MD-11 was at its safest (cruising) altitude when trouble was reported by the pilot. He say small pieces of debris are scattered over the crash scene, suggesting "a violent impact."
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