Fears for passengers are mounting after an Air France jet disappeared off the radar whilst flying off the coast of Brazil on Monday morning. It has not arrived in Paris, despite being scheduled to land there nearly three hours ago.
Air traffic control lost contact with Airbus 3320-200 shortly after it had left Rio de Janeiro. It was carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew.
“The plane was expected in Paris at 11:10 a.m. (0910 GMT),” a spokeswoman for French airport authorities said.
Brazil’s airforce has mounted a search and rescue operation near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.
A Brazilian Air Force spokesman said a search is under way near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, 220 miles off Brazil’s north-eastern coast.
The plane disappeared about 186 miles northeast of the coastal Brazilian city of Natal and near Fernando de Noronha, the Air Force spokesman said.
However French officials believe the plane may have come down nearer the other side of the Atlantic, closer to the coast of Africa.
A French minister said that even if the plane were still in the air, it would have run out of fuel by now.
An Air France spokeswoman in Amsterdam said there had been no radio contact with the missing plane “for a while”.