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Plane with 8 Chinese crashes into sea

[ 2009-06-02 10:36]     字号 [] [] []  
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Eight Chinese nationals were among the 228 people on board an Air France passenger plane presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, the Chinese Embassy in Brazil said yesterday.

Air France said the Airbus, from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, flew into stormy weather four hours after take-off from Brazil. The plane sent an automatic message soon afterwards reporting electrical faults.

The airline offered its condolences to the families of the passengers, making clear it did not expect to find survivors. At least 60 of those on board were French, roughly 60 were Brazilians and two were Slovaks, their countries said.

An Air France spokesman said several of the plane's mechanisms had malfunctioned.

"It is probably a combination of circumstances that could have led to the crash," he said, adding that the airliner might have been hit by lightning.

Aviation experts said lightning strikes on planes were common and were not enough alone to explain a disaster.

The Brazilian air force said the plane was far out over the sea when it went missing.

Military planes took off from the island of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil's northeast coast to look for it and the Brazilian navy sent three ships to help in the search.

France sent one of its air force planes from west Africa.

Flight AF 447 left Rio de Janeiro on Sunday at 7 pm (6 am, Beijing time) and had been expected to land at Paris's Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport yesterday at 11:15 am (5:15 pm, Beijing time).

On its flight northeast from Rio, the jetliner would have had to pass through a notorious storm patch shifting around the equator known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

The carrier said 216 passengers were on board, including seven children and one baby, as well as 12 crew members.

Tearful relatives and friends were led away by airport staff after they arrived at Roissy expecting to greet the passengers.

If the plane is confirmed to have crashed, it would be the first time an A330 has been lost during an operational airline flight.

The last major incident involving an Air France plane was in July 2000 when one of its Concorde supersonic airliners crashed just after taking off from Paris, bound for New York.

All 109 people on board were killed along with at least four on the ground.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Plane with 8 Chinese crashes into sea

About the broadcaster:

Plane with 8 Chinese crashes into sea

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.