Air France plane vanishes with 228 passengers

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#1
BBC NEWS | Americas | French plane lost in ocean storm

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".


Aeroplanes get hit by lightning on quite a routine basis without generally any problems occurring at all ” David Gleave Aviation Safety Investigations


"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. Air France confirmed that there had been 61 French and 58 Brazilians on board.


Among the other passengers were 26 Germans, nine Chinese, nine Italians, six Swiss, five Britons, five Lebanese, four Hungarians, three Irish, three Norwegians and three Slovaks.

Lightning theory doubts

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



Air France says the plane may have been struck by lightning - the cause of around a dozen major air crashes in the last 50 years - but it rarely results in tragedy. More likely lightning damaged electrical systems, possibly leading indirectly to the plane's ditching.
Although passengers survived a landing on the Hudson River in New York in January - it is rarely successful, especially in the middle of an ocean the size of the Atlantic.



It made its last radio contact at 0133 GMT (2233 Brazilian time) when it was 565km (360m) off Brazil's north-eastern coast, Brazil's air force said.
The crew said they were planning to enter Senegalese airspace at 0220 GMT and that the plane was flying normally at an altitude of 10,670m (35,000ft).

At 0220, when Brazilian air traffic controllers saw the plane had not made its required radio call from Senegalese airspace, air traffic control in the Senegalese capital was contacted.

At 0530 GMT, Brazil's air force launched a search-and-rescue mission, sending out a coast guard patrol plane and a specialised air force rescue aircraft.

France is despatching three search planes based in Dakar, Senegal, and has asked the US to help with satellite technology.

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

David Gleave, from Aviation Safety Investigations, told the BBC that planes were routinely struck by lightning, and the cause of the crash remained a mystery.

"Aeroplanes get hit by lightning on quite a routine basis without generally any problems occurring at all," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
"Whether it's related to this electrical storm and the electrical failure on the aeroplane, or whether it's another reason, we have to find the aeroplane first."

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



TIMELINE
<LI class=bull>Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday <LI class=bull>Airbus A330-200 carrying 216 passengers and at least 12 crew <LI class=bull>Contact lost 0130 GMT <LI class=bull>Missed scheduled landing at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

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











Wow. It would be very hard to find the plane since it's lost in the Atlantic Ocean. And the loved ones of the victims will always wonder what happened. I think not knowing the specifics just makes it harder to move on. Lightning theory? Electrical failure? Or some Stephen Kingish explanation à la Langoliers.
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
#2
I heard this on the news this morning. Terrible news.

It is the way that thus far it has just vanished without sight. I know the Atlantic is a big old body of water but you would think with todays tech there may be something of an indicator to its fate or its whereabouts.

I think at this stage we should still be hopeful that there may be survivors out there somewhere.
 

Mirage

Administrator
Staff member
V.I.P.
#3
This reminds me of the first episode of Lost. Seriously though. It's tragic and their chances of actually landing near an island are slim to none.

That would be crazy though. Hopefully they can recover as many people as possible.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#4
There should be some kind of GPS for the black box. Everytime there's a crash, they depend on this to give the explanation for it. If it's that important, why can't we make sure we can find the box anywhere it ends up?
 

Dragon

Registered Member
V.I.P.
#5
I saw this story and I was hoping that they just lost radio contact and would land safely but they would of landed by now. I hope the pilot landed the plane like that hudson pilot but that chance is very slim.
 

DLFerguson

Registered Member
#6
This reminds me of the first episode of Lost. Seriously though. It's tragic and their chances of actually landing near an island are slim to none.

That would be crazy though. Hopefully they can recover as many people as possible.
I thought of the Stephen King story THE LANGOLIERS when I first heard about this.

My prayers are with them and their families.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#7
I thought of the Stephen King story THE LANGOLIERS when I first heard about this.

My prayers are with them and their families.
Me too. That's why I mentioned it in one of the theories, however farfetched, of the crash.
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I saw this story and I was hoping that they just lost radio contact and would land safely but they would of landed by now. I hope the pilot landed the plane like that hudson pilot but that chance is very slim.
Yes, it's slim because it's the Atlantic Ocean we're dealing with. You know this story is going to make me a bit uncomfortable when I cross the Atlantic in August. :shifteyes:
 
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pro2A

Hell, It's about time!
#8
Man I'm glad I'm done traveling on planes now.

I remember back in 1996... the TWA 800 flight crashed two weeks before I had to head back to Singapore. I was on vacation back in the states for the summer...

Eerie :shifteyes:
 
#9
Like a few people here I thought about the Stephen King movie when I heard about this. That, and I also thought about the Bermuda Triangle, however I believe this plane is too far south to "disappear" into that. A real shocker, this.

Funny how Hollywood makes us think that this plane crashed landed on an island and the survivors are fighting polar bears or something, eh? Heh...
 

pro2A

Hell, It's about time!
#10
I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but I'm willing to bet that plane is at the bottom of the ocean right now.

We know these facts:
1. It didn't land somewhere else or at its destination.
2. it's been missing for more than 24 hours.
3. It was over an ocean.

Things don't just vanish. It crashed, it's in the ocean. I don't mean to sound so callous, but thats the way life is. It's not on some magical island or parallel universe, it ditched in the drink. Now what we don't know is how it got down, or what condition it's in now. For all we know it could have glided in and the people are on rafts. It could have crashed and burned into a million tiny pieces all over the ocean...

We'll figure out that last part when they find the plane.
 
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