Air France jet with 228 missing over Atlantic after hitting turbulence - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Air France jet with 228 missing over Atlantic after hitting turbulence

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- France's transportation minister says there's "real pessimism" about the fate of an Air France jet that disappeared over the Atlantic nearly 200 miles off the coast of Brazil.

The plane was carrying 216 passengers and a crew of 12 from Rio de Janeiro to Pairs. Air France says the plane "crossed through a thunderous zone with strong turbulence" about four hours into the flight, at which point the plane sent an automatic signal indicating a malfunction of its electrical circuit.

Brazil's air force began a search this morning near an island chain (Fernando de Noronha -- FAYR'-nan-doh jee nor-OHN'-ya) in the area. Aviation officials say the search could prove to be "a long, sad story."

Aviation experts says it's clear the plane is no longer in the air. Jane's Aviation analyst Chris Yates tells The Associated Press. it's probable "something catastrophic happened on board" that caused the plane to ditch so quickly the pilot didn't have a chance to make an emergency call.

Online Reporter: Kelsi Schindler

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