We are deeply saddened by the loss of life attributed to the AF 447 disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and friends of the passengers and crew. Please, take a moment today, to consider our lives and loves, as you pass by a stranger, grant them a smile.
What follows is a transcript of the official Air France press release and the contact numbers published for family members to use for information.
Air France regrets to confirm the disappearance of flight AF 447 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, scheduled to arrive at 11:10am local time today, as announced to the press by Air France CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon.
The Airbus A330-200, registration F-GZCP, left Rio on 31 May at 7:03pm local time (12:03am in Paris).
The aircraft hit a zone of stormy weather with strong turbulence at 2am this morning (universal time), i.e. 4am in Paris. An automatic message was received from the aircraft at 2:14am (4 :14am in Paris) indicating a failure in the electric circuit a long way from the coast.
The Brazilian, African, Spanish and French air traffic control centres all tried to make contact with flight AF 447 but to no avail. The French military air traffic control centre tried to detect the aircraft but did not succeed.
216 passengers were on board: 126 men, 82 women, 7 children and one infant.
There were 12 flight crew members: 3 pilots and 9 flight attendants.
The flight captain had a record of 11,000 flight hours and had already flown 1,700 hours on Airbus A330/A340s.
Of the two first officers, one had flown 3,000 flight hours (800 of which on the Airbus A330/A340) and the other 6,600 (2,600 on the Airbus A330/A340).
The aircraft was powered by General Electric CF6-80E engines.
The aircraft had totalled 18,870 flight hours and went into service on 18 April 2005.
Its last maintenance check in the hangar took place on 16 April 2009.
Air France fully shares the anxiety and distress of the families concerned. The families are being taken care of in a specially reserved area of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2.
Outside France: + 33 1 57 02 10 55
0800 800 812 in France
0800 881 20 20 in Brazil