Air France says flight AF447 has crashed

June 1st, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Air France AF447 Air France says an Airbus A300-200 with 228 people onboard that disappeared from air traffic controllers radar screens earlier today has crashed.

Air France AF447 departed Rio de Janiero at 7pm (BRT) and was due to arrive at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle 2 airport at 11.15am local Paris time (0915 GMT).

Air France reported the flight was carrying 126 men, 82 women, 7 children and one baby.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with flight AF447 three hours into the flight when the aircraft was some 1,500 miles (2,400km) northeast of Rio.

According to reports on France 24 the aircraft had reported electrical failure and strong turbulence before contact was lost.

Air France spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand said “Air France fully shares the anxiety and distress of the families of the passengers concerned.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his “extreme worry” and sent the junior minister for transport, Dominique Bussereau, and Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo to Charles de Gaulle airport to monitor the situation.

Air France said the families are being taken care of in a specially reserved area at Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2 airport.

The Airbus 330 is a twin-engine long-range aircraft introduced into commercial aviation in the 1990s and the craft operating flight AF447 is believed to have been delivered to Air France in April 2005.

The Airbus A300 has an almost crash free history.

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