French airliner missing over Atlantic, 228 on board (Second Lead)

June 1st, 2009 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris/Rio de Janeiro, June 1 (DPA) An Air France flight with 228 people on board went missing over the Atlantic Monday morning, sparking a major search and rescue mission off the Brazilian coast, according to reports in both countries.
The Airbus A330-200, flight number AF 447, left Rio de Janeiro for Paris, but radio contact was lost with the plane shortly after 0600 GMT, the reports said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is “greatly concerned” about the situation, according to his office, and a special crisis team and facilities have been set up at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport - where the plane had been due to land at 09.10 GMT.

The Brazilian air force has now scrambled a search and rescue mission to the area around the tiny island of Fernando de Noronha, around 300 km off the northeast coast of Brazil.

French RTL broadcaster quoted Brazilian air traffic controllers as saying there had been no distress message from the plane.

According to Brazilian broadcaster Globonews, there were 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

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