Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

  • Hamas rockets reaching deeper into Israel

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Gaza as militants target Israeli cities

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

France

Search teams hunt for debris of missing Air France jet

©

Video by FRANCE 24 , Oliver FARRY , FRANCE 2

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-06-02

Search teams are scouring the Atlantic Ocean in search for the debris of the Air France jet that went missing with 228 people on Monday. As hope of finding survivors fades, investigators have yet to explain the cause of the accident.



A second morning dawned Tuesday with no sign of missing Air France flight 447.

Air France officials and President Nicolas Sarkozy have called the chances of finding survivors “very slim” when meeting disconsolate relatives of the missing passengers. The plane, carrying 228 people on board has probably crashed into the Atlantic Ocean somewhere between Brazil and West Africa.

In response to a French request for aid, US President Barack Obama has agreed to help the search for the flight in any way possible.

Flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 216 passengers and 12 crew disappeared off radar screens in the early hours of Monday, four hours into its scheduled 11-hour flight.

A daytime search by Brazilian air force planes turned up nothing. The search continued into the night with a specially equipped aircraft. A Hercules C130 hunted over the dark waters for the missing Airbus’s emergency beacon, and an Embraer AWACS jet with infrared gear searched for bodies on the water.



"We will search all night long and keep going through dawn," said Colonel Jorge Amaral of the Brazilian air force. "We have to work as if it were possible to find survivors."

France has also sent two maritime reconnaissance planes from Senegal, and the ship "Mistral" has been routed to the area.

They are searching in a zone 1,100 kilometres off the north-eastern coast of Brazil. The flight was last in contact with the Brazilian air force when 565 kilometres from the coast.

A possible lead came from the pilot of a plane with Brazilian airlines Tam, who reported seeing “bright spots” on the surface of the ocean while flying through the same zone, half an hour behind the ill-fated Air France flight.

But a merchant ship in the area found no sign of burning or other debris from the missing flight.


“Catastrophe”

If no survivors are found, this would be the worst disaster in the airline’s 76-year history and the worst aviation accident in a decade.

"It's a catastrophe the likes of which Air France has never seen," said Sarkozy.

The cause of the disaster is perplexing. "There’s a lack of information," said France 24’s Claire Pryde from Charles de Gaulle airport. She said that Air France staff were not satisfied with the explanations so far given.

Air France officials have linked it to the possibility of a lightning strike during stormy and turbulent weather, but that is relatively common phenomenon on aircraft and usually causes no damage. Two Lufthansa flights subsequently passing along a similar flight path did not experience any difficulties.

Air France's chief executive, Pierre-Henry Gourgeon, said the aircraft had sent a series of error messages shortly after crossing an area of major turbulence.

Gourgeon said that "a succession of a dozen technical messages" sent by the aircraft around 0215 GMT showed that "several electrical systems had broken down", which caused a "totally unprecedented situation in the plane".

"It is probable that it was shortly after these messages that the impact in the Atlantic came," he told reporters at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Date created : 2009-06-02

Comments

COMMENT(S)