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French plane lost in ocean storm
Tuesday, 02 June 2009

An Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has vanished over the Atlantic after flying into turbulence, airline officials say.

The Airbus sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT, four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit. It may have been damaged by lightning.

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

France's president said the chances of finding survivors were "very small".

undefined undefined undefined undefined"It is a catastrophe the likes of which Air France has never seen," Nicolas Sarkozy said after meeting relatives and friends of passengers at a crisis centre at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Earlier, Air France chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told reporters: "We are without a doubt faced with an air disaster."

He added: "The entire company is thinking of the families and shares their pain."

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.

By : BBC
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