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Plane vanishes in split second...

Anouser 2009/06/01 23:16:15
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Aircraft travelling from Brazil to Paris with 228 people on board has not arrived in French capital and has vanished from radar screens, authorities say

Brazilian air force planes are searching the Atlantic for an Air France plane that vanished from radar screens as it flew to Paris today with 228 people on board.

Flight AF447, an Airbus A330-200, left Rio de Janeiro at 7pm local time (2300 BST) yesterday. It had been expected to arrived in Paris at 11.15am.

An Air France source was quoted as saying that there was "no hope" for those on board.

"Air France regrets to announce that it is without news from Air France flight 447, flying from Rio to Paris," Brigitte Barrand, a spokeswoman for the airline, said.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, expressed his "extreme worry" and sent the junior minister for transport, Dominique Bussereau, and the environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, to Charles de Gaulle airport to monitor the situation.

The plane was carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew. The French authorities have set up a crisis centre at Charles de Gaulle airport.

The Brazilian air force told the Associated Press that a search was under way near the island of Fernando de Noronha.

A spokesman said the search and rescue mission was mounted after the jet failed to make regular radio contact.

According to the French media, Paris airport authorities were informed by their Brazilian counterparts that the aircraft had vanished from radar screens.

France Info radio quoted an airport authority source as saying that its absence from the radar could be a question of a transmitter failure, but that this would be a very rare occurrence.

Chris Yates, an aviation expert, told the BBC: "There is not radar coverage across the Atlantic because it is too far from radar stations.

"But the fact [the plane] has not appeared on radar when it neared land gives me cause for concern.

"Normally, aircraft crossing the oceans are in contant contact with traffic control, updating them with details of their route information or location.

"If there is an emergency on board, they declare that. So it is somewhat surprising that there doesn't appear to have been a warning."

He said that "if we are talking about an aircraft coming down over the ocean ... then survivability is quite limited".

David Gleave, another aviation expert, told the BBC: "We are running out of time for the plane to reappear, given the amount of fuel it had on it.

"Had it been a communcation problem, it would have appeared now on Spanish or French radar or Brazilian, had it turned around.

"The first thing is to find out where it is. It may have been reporting its position by satellite. It is very unusual that there is no location information."

The A330-200 model has not suffered any fatal accidents involving passengers.

However, in June 1994, an A330 owned by Airbus on a test flight simulating an engine failure on takeoff crashed shortly after leaving Toulouse, killing all seven people on board.

In October last year, a Qantas A330 on a flight from Singapore to Perth reportedly experienced a sudden change in altitude.

The crew issued a mayday call before diverting the aircraft. About 36 passengers and crew members were injured, more than a dozen seriously.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/01/air-france-plane-...
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2014/10/20 08:31:53