Couple in Air France disaster remembered

June 22, 2009 12:15:53 PM PDT
Friends and family said goodbye Sunday to a couple who had lived in Houston and who disappeared when an Air France jetliner crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. They're finding it hard to deal with the loss. [INTERACTIVE: World's deadliest air disasters]

It's been a week since the flight with 228 people on board. It was headed to Paris from Rio de Janeiro. Only three Americans were on the flight. Two had lived in the Houston area.

Friends and relatives of Michael and Anne Harris gathered in Lafayette, Louisiana, Sunday afternoon to remember the couple. Those closest to them say they wanted to focus on really celebrating their lives.

Those who were inside the chapel say it was full. Some who came to pay tribute to the couple were even standing in the aisles.

"It's just sad," said relative Mary Foss. "They know there's nothing to be done and that's reality."

Michael and Anne Harris are described by many as so full of life. They lived in The Woodlands until last July, when Devon Energy transferred Michael to Rio de Janeiro.

"I just happened to finish a technical paper with him joint," said Roman Chamali, a co-worker of Michael Harris. "We just finished it before he took his flight and I was completely distraught by what happened to the couple."

Cameras were not allowed inside, but relatives say the couple's sons both spoke at the service, as well as a co-worker who talked about how much they would be missed in Brazil.

While families of the passengers who were on board Flight 447 are remembering their loved ones, search crews off the northern coast of Brazil found fifteen more bodies after the initial discovery of two Saturday.

France is leading the investigation into the cause of the crash and will try to recover the plane's black box data and voice recorders, while Brazilian officials are focusing solely on the recovery of victims and plane wreckage.

Relatives say the Harrises were making the trip from Rio de Janeiro to Paris for business and extending their stay to celebrate their fourteenth wedding anniversary.

"We really regret that this has happened to you and we send our condolences and sympathy and you will be in our prayers and have been in our prayers," said Lafayette resident Marie Lynn Martin.

Anne Harris was born in Lafayette. Her husband was born in Greenville, South Carolina. They had lived in Lafayette before moving to Houston and then to Brazil.

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