Missing French jet hit thunderstorms over Atlantic - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Missing French jet hit thunderstorms over Atlantic

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SAO PAULO (AP) -- Air France officials say Flight 447, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean with 228 people on board, ran into strong thunderstorms and may have been hit by lightning.

Brazil's Air Force is searching near an island chain about 180 miles from the country's coast, but a top aviation official says "it could be a long, sad story."

The Pentagon says it's seen nothing to indicate that terrorism or foul play was involved.

Noting that the plane did not have enough fuel to still be in the air, Air France-KLM's CEO says, "We are without doubt facing an air catastrophe."

Experts say the absence of a distress call likely means whatever happened to the plane happened quickly. But they also say the risk of the plane being brought down by lightning was slim.

Air France says the pilot has 11,000 hours of flying experience, including 1,700 on the Airbus A330.

Flight 447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Online Reporter: Kelsi Schindler

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