Monday, June 1, 2009

Air France plane missing mysteriously after storm

An Air France passenger jet with 228 people on board disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on its way from Brazil to Paris on Monday after hitting strong turbulence and French officials said they feared a disaster.
Flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris left the Rio de Janeiro airport at 7 pm Sunday night local time (GMT-3) and was expected at the Charles de Gaulle airport Monday at 11:15 am local time (GMT+2), according to the French airports authority.

The flight went missing after it dropped off the radar after taking off. Its last known location was unclear. Aviation authorities initially believed the disappearance could be due to a transponder problem although such occurrences are rare.

Air France said that the aircraft had sent a message reporting an electrical "short circuit" after strong turbulence.

The company said the plane had probably been struck by lightning.

An Airbus source described the failure as "catastrophic" suggesting a sudden and unexplained systems failure.

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