Air France Flight En Route from Brazil to France Disappears

An Air France plane en route from Brazil to France disappeared from the radar and lost all communication about three hours into the flight. The airline says that Air France Flight 447 was flying bound for Paris from Rio de Janeiro and due to arrive at 5:15 a.m. Eastern time. The flight was carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members.

The plane disappeared about 186 miles northeast of the coastal Brazilian city of Natal. Crews are now searching the open water for clues as to what could have happened. Brazilian Air Force spokesman Col. Henry Munhoz confirmed, "We have two planes up there searching." One left from the city of Salvador and another from Recife. Francois Brousse, head of communications at Air France, told Reuters, "The plane might have been struck by lightning. It’s a possibility."

A spokeswoman for Air France said that the company "shares the emotion and worry of the families concerned" and that the airline has installed an information center at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport for the families of those aboard the missing flight.