Search begins off Brazil's coast for 'disappeared' Air France flight(Read article summary)
Air France reports a possible lightning strike. Airbus 330-200 has a good safety record.
RIO DE JANEIRO – How does a commercial airplane just disappear in the middle of a flight?
Air France Flight 447 took off from Rio at 7:00 p.m. local time Sunday night carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members, but Brazil's Air Force says that the Airbus A330 passenger plane disappeared near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, a 7-square mile island about 186 miles northeast of the coastal Brazilian city of Natal.
The last contact with the plane was at 10:36 p.m. Brazil time.
Let the search begin
“We have two planes up there searching,” said Air Force spokesman Col. Henry Munhoz. He refused to discuss causes, saying it would be speculation. He said one search aircraft was a Hercules and the other a Bandeirantes plane used specifically for such reconnaissance missions. However, he also cautioned that it was a "visual search" and was dependent on cloudless skies.