Monday, June 01, 2009

Catastrophe: Air France Airbus A330 with 248 on board lost over the Atlantic

Air FranceAn Air France Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 12 crew and 216 passengers on board has been lost over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft (registration F-GZCP), operating as Air France Flight AF447, was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when contact with the aircraft ceased. Now long overdue at its destination and with no further communication, the aircraft is presumed to have been lost.

At a press conference several hours ago, Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told reporters, "We are without a doubt faced with an air disaster. The entire company is thinking of the families and their pain."

Air France Flight 447 departed Rio's Galeao International Airport (GIG) at 19:03 local time on Sunday, May 31, 2009 for a scheduled passenger flight to Paris- Charles De Gaulle (CDG). According to Air France, the last communication from the aircraft was at 04:14 Paris time. The aircraft was due to arrive at CDG at 11:10 Paris time.

News reports, quoting Air France officials, say that an 'automated message' received from the aircraft indicated an electrical fault and loss of cabin pressure. The aircraft was believed to be flying through stormy weather and severe turbulence at the time it vanished, but the extent to which the weather contributed to the accident is unclear at this time.

Powered by twin General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft entered service in April of 2005, and is said to have logged 18,870 flight hours. Its last major maintenance check was in April of this year, according to Air France.

Updates will follow here on Aircrew Buzz as more information becomes available.

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