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Air France plane lost over Atlantic


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French plane lost over Atlantic

An Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has vanished over the Atlantic after a possible lightning strike, airline officials say.

The Airbus sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT, four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit as it flew through strong turbulence.

It was well over the ocean when it was lost, making Brazilian and French search planes' task more difficult.

Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has set up a crisis centre.

The black box will be at the bottom of the sea

Douglas Ferreira Machado

chief Brazilian air accident investigator

"The plane might have been struck by lightning - it's a possibility," Francois Brousse, head of communications at Air France, told reporters in Paris.

France's minister responsible for transportation, Jean-Louis Borloo, ruled out hijacking as a cause of the plane's loss.

'Long search'

Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday. It had 216 passengers and 12 crew on board, including three pilots. The passengers included one infant, seven children, 82 women and 126 men.

Air France's Pierre Henri Gourgeon describes the sequence of events in Paris

The Airbus 330-200 had been expected to arrive in Paris at 1110 local time (0910 GMT).

It is reported to have disappeared 300km (186 miles) north-east of the Brazilian city of Natal.

Brazilian air force spokesman Col Henry Munhoz told Brazilian TV it had not been picked up by radar on the Cape Verde Islands on its way across the Atlantic, and confirmed that Brazilian air force planes had left Fernando de Noronha to search for the missing airliner.

Mr Borloo said the plane would already have run out of fuel.

"Nothing on Spanish radar, nothing on Moroccan radar, nothing on French radar - we seriously have to fear the worst," he added.

Douglas Ferreira Machado, head of investigation and accident prevention for Brazil's Civil Aeronautics Agency, said the search would take "a long time".

"It could be a long, sad story," he told Brazil's Globo news. "The black box will be at the bottom of the sea."

An Air France spokeswoman said there had been no radio contact with the plane "for a while".

Crisis centre

An Air France official told AFP that people awaiting the flight would be received in a special area at the airport's second terminal.


Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday

Airbus A330-200 carrying 216 passengers and at least 12 crew

Contact lost 0130 GMT

Missed scheduled landing at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

Air disasters timeline

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been informed of the incident and has expressed his deep concern, his office said.

He has demanded that the relevant authorities do everything they can to find the plane and "shed light on the circumstances surrounding its disappearance as rapidly as possible".

This is the first major incident in Brazilian air space since a Tam flight crashed in Sao Paulo in July 2007 killing 199 people.

Air France has opened a telephone hotline for friends and relatives of people on the plane - 00 33 157021055 for callers outside France and 0800 800812 for inside France.


Oh, God, it's too sad. My prayers are with all those who have lost their beloved ones in this tragedy.

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Yeah I posted about this in random when I first heard at lunchtime, I can't believe there is still no news, it doesn't look good at all. How desperately tragic, I wonder what went wrong?

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God how devastating. Hopefully they find the plane soon and figure out what went wrong. Planes can withstand a lot of outside elements, but weather is mighty and wickedly strong and unpredictable in that part of the Atlantic. Formidable storms come and go so quickly. Anyway it's all just speculation until they find that plane. My prayers go out to the families.

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It's too sad, isn't it? :(

They are working with the possibility of a lightning strike, during a storm. Anyway, it looks like it's going to be very difficult to say what really caused this tragedy.

I hate flying and though I know that the chances that I get hit by a car on the next corner are waaaaay bigger than being on a plane crash, I can't help but feeling really, really frightened.

And the fact that I'm flying tomorrow makes me feel even worse. :( yes, I know, that's really stupid. :slapface:

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I've flown Air France across the Atlantic several times, and somehow you just assume nothing like this will happen--well, you have to, I guess, or you'd be in a permanent state of fear. But this is a real reminder never to take anything for granted. I do hope they find out what happened, for the sake of the families of those on board.

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This is why I don't fly. If I'm going to die, I want to die on the ground where I can be found. I feel horrible for the friends and family of those on board the plane....I hope they can find some sense of closure in the wake of this tragedy.

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I can't imagine how hard it must be for the families and friends. Last year I stayed about two days long in front of my laptop and telephone to ensure all my friends were ok after the horrible earthquake. The most scary thing is not knowing what happened and what to do. I hope they can find out what happened to the plane.

I've flied quite often and long-distance several times. Can't say I never worried about those things, but I know it just would not help. In these days there's danger everywhere, according to statistic plane-travel is even safer than cars and trains etc.

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This is just so awful. You've got to feel for the families involved - the lack of information must be soul-destroying. Unfortunately, they're saying that even if it didn't crash - as unlikely as it is - it would've ran out of fuel as of 2/3 hours ago. There's already speculation that, if it is in the Atlantic, it may well be at the bottom of it by now.

I live about 25/30 minutes from an airport and we suffered a major plane crash - the one and only - 20 years ago. Every single day I hear the planes coming in I'm thankful that they've made a safe journey.

This is a very clear reminder of why I'm not a good flyer.

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It's just so horrific - my heart goes out to the families and friends of the passengers and crew. Life is very fragile indeed. I've flown Air France and will be flying it again this summer. You have to put it out of your mind I suppose as Aqua said, or you'd never get on a flight. It's just heartbreaking to hear things like this :(

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The official Agencia Brasil news agency on Monday quoted Brazilian Air Force spokesman Col. Jorge Amaral as saying that a commercial airplane pilot saw what appeared to be fire on the ocean near the route taken by the Air France plane.

"There is information that the pilot of a TAM aircraft saw several orange points on the ocean while flying over the region ... where the Air France plane disappeared," Amaral said, referring to the Brazilian airline TAM. "After arriving in Brazil, the pilot found out about the disappearance (of the Air France plane) and said that he thought those points on the ocean were fire."

Los Angeles Times

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Very sad. May Heaven keep them.


Search and rescue

Meanwhile, crews from both sides of the Atlantic have stepped up the hunt for the jet.

The Pentagon said on Monday it had dispatched a surveillance aircraft and a search and rescue team to help Brazilian and French aircraft.

France has also asked Washington to use its spy satellites and listening posts to help with the search.

Officials said the search was centred on an area more than 1,100km off the Brazilian coast and while search aircraft have managed to fly over the area, the first navy ships are not expected to arrive until Wednesday.


Two squadrons from Brazil's air force launched a search near the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic Ocean, about 225 miles (365 kilometers) from Brazil's coast, an air force spokesman told CNN. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France sent ships and planes to the area about 250 miles (400 kilometers) from Brazil.

"Our Spanish friends are helping us, Brazilians are helping us a lot as well," he said.

The Brazilian air force received a report that a flight crew from the Brazilian airline TAM reported seeing "shiny spots" in the sea on the route of Flight 447. Senegalese authorities were notified about the sighting in their airspace, but a ship searched the area without result.


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If you've gone across the pond it makes it even sadder. You know the empty feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you leave the continent and start across the ocean?

This is why...

Our hearts and best wishes go out to all involved including crew members who really lost their minds during descent.

(IOW trying to find ways to save everyone...has to be tough on the crew)

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Sadly, we don't know that they were even conscious or alive during descent.

I also can't agree with the other stuff as I don't get that empty feeling when I leave a continent.

I really hope they find answers soon it just must be torture for those who are waiting .

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I always get an empty feeling when I leave home for long periods. Mostly because I leave loved ones behind and think man if this thing were to go down then it would be sad for tons of people.

Now I just crack open Jack until I am somewhere half past oblivion and it leaves me.

The rest we wont know until the black box is found.

I don't pray any so on that front I just suggest whatever gives people peace?

Mornin Knebs..

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Air France jet: Debris spotted in the Atlantic Ocean

Debris was spotted at 0:10 on the upper left of the video screen.

Hugs to all who may have lost loved ones and God bless.

Brazilian military planes scouring the equatorial Atlantic today spotted metal debris that could be wreckage of the missing Air France Rio-Paris passenger flight, as questions emerged about the track record of the type of aircraft, an Airbus A330, involved. Air force pilots saw white metallic objects, an aeroplane seat, an orange buoy and jet fuel stains in the water roughly 400 miles north of the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jiNfvitbWA, off Brazil's north-eastern coast. The objects were in two areas around 35 miles apart, but there were no signs of life. Two commercial ships reached the site to assist in the search and French navy vessels were on their way last night. The French military said no confirmation of the plane's wreckage could be made until debris was recovered and serial numbers assessed.

Air France flight 447 from Rio to Paris, carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew, mysteriously disappeared early yesterday in heavy weather without sending any distress signal, four hours after taking off from Rio. Air France announced a "catastrophe", saying the plane could have been hit by lightning. But French government ministers yesterday said lightning alone did not explain the crash, which would be the worst air disaster in Air France's 75-year history. "All scenarios have to be envisaged," the French defence minister, Hervé Morin, said yesterday. "We can't rule out a terrorist act since terrorism is the main threat to western democracies, but at this time we don't have any element whatsoever indicating that such an act could have caused this accident."

The environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, today described "a race against time" to find the wreckage and the plane's black box flight recorder, without which the crash remained "incomprehensible". He warned that the black box would only emit signals for 30 days. But the Atlantic search area between the coasts of Brazil and Africa remains vast and depths range from 3,000 to 6,000 metres, with currents so strong that the box might never be found. Borloo said that in 2004, when a jet crashed off Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, even with an exact crash point located, it took 15 days to find the flight recorder at a depth of 1,000 metres.


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