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Un avion disparaît

 

Radio-Canada

Mise à jour le lundi 1 juin 2009 à 9 h 33

 

AFP_090601airbusa330_8.jpg

Photo: AFP/Jack Guez - Un Airbus A330 appartenant à Air France, à l'aéroport de Roissy, près de Paris, le 20 juillet 2006.

 

Un Airbus transportant 228 personnes, assurant la liaison entre Rio de Janeiro et Paris, a disparu des écrans radars au large des côtes brésiliennes trois heures et demie après son décollage, vers 22 h 30, heure locale.

 

« Air France a le regret d'annoncer être sans nouvelles du vol AF 447 effectuant la liaison Rio-Paris avec 216 passagers à bord et partage l'émotion et l'inquiétude des familles concernées », a déclaré une porte-parole de la compagnie aérienne française.

 

Foudroyé

 

L'appareil a traversé une zone orageuse avec fortes turbulences à 2 h GMT. Un message automatique signalant une panne de circuit électrique a ensuite été reçu à 2 h 14 GMT, a indiqué Air France.

 

« Le plus vraisemblable est que l'avion a été foudroyé », a déclaré à la presse François Brousse, directeur de la communication d'Air France. « L'avion est entré dans un zone orageuse avec de fortes perturbations qui a provoqué des dysfonctionnements. »

 

Une mission de recherche est en cours aux abords de l'archipel brésilien de Fernando de Noronha, a indiqué l'armée de l'Air brésilienne. Cette dernière précise que l'Airbus a disparu à environ 300 km au nord-est de la ville de Natal.

 

L'hypothèse la plus tragique « sérieusement envisagée »

 

« L'avion n'est certainement plus en vol à l'heure actuelle », a déclaré Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, directeur général d'Air France, lors d'une conférence de presse au siège de la compagnie, à Roissy.

 

« À l'heure où je parle, il n'a plus de réserve de pétrole », a-t-il ajouté.

 

Un peu plus tôt, le ministre Borloo avait déclaré au réseau France Info que « malheureusement, c'est affreux, mais l'hypothèse la plus tragique doit être sérieusement envisagée ».

 

http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/International/2009/06/01/001-AVION-ALERTE.shtml (1/6/2009 9H47)

 

 

 

French plane lost over Atlantic

 

BBC

Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 14:35 UK

 

An Air France plane carrying 228 people from Brazil to France has vanished over the Atlantic after a possible lightning strike, airline officials say.

 

The Airbus sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT, four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro, reporting a short circuit as it flew through strong turbulence.

 

It was well over the ocean when it was lost, making Brazilian and French search planes' task more difficult.

 

Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has set up a crisis centre.

 

"The plane might have been struck by lightning - it's a possibility," Francois Brousse, head of communications at Air France, told reporters in Paris.

 

France's minister responsible for transportation, Jean-Louis Borloo, ruled out hijacking as a cause of the plane's loss.

 

Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday. It had 216 passengers and 12 crew on board, including three pilots. The passengers included one infant, seven children, 82 women and 126 men.

 

Details of the passengers' nationalities were not being released immediately but it is believed that a number of Italians and Britons are among the French people and Brazilians aboard.

 

Long search

 

The Airbus 330-200 had been expected to arrive in Paris at 1110 local time (0910 GMT).

 

It is reported to have disappeared 300km (186 miles) north-east of the Brazilian city of Natal.

 

Brazilian air force spokesman Col Henry Munhoz told Brazilian TV it had not been picked up by radar on the Cape Verde Islands on its way across the Atlantic, and confirmed that Brazilian air force planes had left Fernando de Noronha to search for the missing airliner.

 

A French military plane also flew out of Senegal to take part in the search.

 

Mr Borloo said the airliner would already have run out of fuel.

 

"Nothing on Spanish radar, nothing on Moroccan radar, nothing on French radar - we seriously have to fear the worst," he added.

 

Douglas Ferreira Machado, head of investigation and accident prevention for Brazil's Civil Aeronautics Agency, said the search would take "a long time".

 

"It could be a long, sad story," he told Brazil's Globo news. "The black box will be at the bottom of the sea."

 

An Air France spokeswoman said there had been no radio contact with the plane "for a while".

 

TIMELINE

 

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Air France Airbus A330-200 believed to be the missing plane - archive image from AirTeam Images

 

Flight AF 447 left Rio at 1900 local time (2200 GMT) on Sunday

Airbus A330-200 carrying 216 passengers and at least 12 crew

Contact lost 0130 GMT

Missed scheduled landing at 1110 local time (0910 GMT) in Paris

 

Crisis centre

 

An Air France official told AFP that people awaiting the flight would be received in a special area at Charles de Gaulle airport's second terminal.

 

 

Relatives and friends of the passengers have been ushered away from the main arrivals hall, the BBC's Alistair Sandford reports from Paris.

 

"I want to say that everyone at Air France is deeply moved and shares the grief of the relatives of the passengers, and we will do everything possible to help them," said the chief executive of Air France, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon.

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed deep concern and called on the relevant authorities to do everything they could to find the plane, his office said.

 

Air France has opened a telephone hotline for friends and relatives of people on the plane - 00 33 157021055 for callers outside France and 0800 800812 for inside France.

 

This is the first major incident in Brazilian air space since a Tam flight crashed in Sao Paulo in July 2007 killing 199 people.

 

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8076848.stm (1/6/2009 9H54)

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