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Air France Flight 447

Air France Flight 447Air France Flight 447 disappears from air, presumed to have crashed.

Air France Flight 447 flying from Brazil to France lost contact after its takeoff, reported to have crashed with 228 aboard.

According to Reuters, Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, went missing early Monday after disappearing from the skies and is presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

On board of the missing Air France plane were 216 passengers and 12 crew members, according to Air France company spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand.

Reuters reported that Air France expressed condolences to passengers’ families, implying that the airline did not expect to find any survivors from the alleged crash.

According to an Air France spokesman who relayed the information to press, several plane mechanisms had malfunctioned, and that “a combination of circumstances” caused the plane to crash into the Atlantic Ocean

According to the BBC, Air France Flight 447 left Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Galeao International Airport at 7 p.m on May 31st. It was scheduled to land at Paris Charles de Gaulle at 11:10 a.m., but reportedly entered a “thunderous zone with strong turbulence,” according to an official Air France statement.

The jet had last contact with Brazil’s Air Force around 9:30 p.m. May 31, but Air France Flight 447 did not state where the plane was, according to Yahoo! News.

About four hours after its takeoff, the plane sent out an automated message specifying that there was an “electrical circuit malfunction” on board.

Though the Air France spokesman said that a lightning strike could be conceivably responsible Air France Flight 447’s crash, most experts said that the likelihood that lightning brought the plane down is slim.

Bill Voss, president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, told the Associated Press that while issues surrounding lightning have been discussed since aviation’s dawn, lightning issues “were far more prevalent when aircraft operated at low altitudes.”

Additionally, Voss told the AP that lightning strikes “are less common now, since it’s easier [for planes] to avoid thunderstorms.” Since Planes have specific measures built in to dissipate electricity if a plane is struck, Voss told the AP that he could not “recall in recent history any examples of aircraft being brought down by lightning.”

Additionally, the fact there was no reported mayday call means that the cause of the crash came quick;y. Chris Yates, who is an analyst for Jane’s Aviation, told the AP that “something catastrophic happened on board that has caused this airplane to ditch in a controlled or an uncontrolled fashion.”

A Pentagon official in Washington, D.C. said he hadn’t seen any indication of terrorism or foul play, Yahoo! News reported.

Seven hours after the automated message was received, Paris airport officials declared the plane to be missing, according to BBC News. Shortly thereafter, Brazil’s Air Force confirmed a search and rescue operation near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.

The head of investigation for Brazil’s Civil Aeronautics Agency, Douglas Ferreira Machado, that the plane could have been near the coast of Africa by the time contact was lost, based upon the plane’s speed.

Machado told Globo TV that carrying out the search would “take a long time,” adding that the plane’s “black box will be at the bottom of the sea.”

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his “extreme worry” and planned to visit the Charles de Gaulle airport later Monday, according to Yahoo! News.

The aircraft, registered F-GZCP, had been in operation since April 2005, according to BBC News.

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