Air France Jet Goes Missing Over the Atlantic

June 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A grim search is underway Monday for a missing passenger jet that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. The Air France flight had left Rio de Janeiro bound for Paris when radio contact was lost hours later. 228 people were aboard. Most were Brazilians, and there are no reports of American passengers.

At the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, those waiting for Flight 447 were told to please see the airline for information. But French President Nicholas Sarkozy is warning that the chances of finding any survivors are very thin. He is also asking the U.S. to use their satellites to help locate where the plane went down.

The pilots mentioned strong turbulence in their last radio contact. Automated messages indicated an electrical short circuit. Soon after, all communications were lost. "Clearly something dramatic has happened, with very little warning from the pilots, you have to assume some sort of explosion, some explosions happened on that plane," said Aviation Expert Chris Brockman.

The plane was an Airbus A330 and would be the first to crash during a commercial flight. "We are talking about one of the most reliable aircraft indeed," said Brockman.

Even so, this long after flight 447 was due to land it would certainly have run out of fuel.

The Brazilian Air Force reported it lost contact with Flight 447 three-and-a-half hours into its flight, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. It has launched a search and rescue mission 186 miles off the Brazilian coastal city of Natal.


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