Missing Air France Plane Struck by Lightning - Report
The Air France Airbus 330 aircraft that has disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean with 231 people on board may have been struck by lightning.
Air France said the plane sent an automatic message at 0214 GMT reporting a short circuit after turbulence, and may have been struck by lightning.
Brazil's air force said a search and rescue mission was under way near the island of Fernando de Noronha. France has also sent out several reconnaissance aircraft, the BBC reported.
It added that the plane was well across the Atlantic when it disappeared, and the search had to cover a wide area.
French minister Jean-Louis Borloo said the plane had probably had an accident and ruled out hijacking.
The Airbus 330 is a twin-engine long-range aircraft introduced into commercial aviation in the 1990s.
CNN air travel expert Richard Quest says the plane, a stalwart of trans-Atlantic routes, has an impeccable safety record, with only 2 crashes since its introduction.
"It has very good range, and is extremely popular with airlines because of its versatility," he said.
The Air France aircraft carrying 231 people from Brazil disappeared from radar screens over the Atlantic Ocean early Monday.
A spokeswoman for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport said contact was lost with the flight from Rio de Janeiro at 0600 GMT.
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