The Airbus A330 ploughed into thunderstorms and heavy turbulence four hours into an overnight flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris earlytoday . Fifteen minutes later, the aircraft reported electrical faults through an automated message. Then nothing.
In total 61 French people and 58 Brazilians were among the passengers on board AF flight 447, as well as 18 Germans and at least a dozen other nationalities. Seven children and a baby were aboard, as well as 12 French crew. There were slim hopes of survivors.
“It’s a tragic accident. The chances of finding survivors are tiny,” said a sombre French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport.