'No Hope' for Air France Plane
Lightning strike feared
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2009 8:19 AM CDT
A woman looking for information about the missing Air France flight 447 is surrounded by Brazilian journalists in Rio de Janeiro, June 01, 2009.   (AP Photo/ Ricardo Moraes)
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(Newser) – There is "no hope" for the 228 people onboard the Air France plane that disappeared en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro this morning, says an Air France official. An automatic message sent at 2:14am GMT reported a short circuit, which authorities believe means it was struck by lightning, the Guardian reports. “We are probably facing an air catastrophe,” said Air France’s CEO.

Brazilian and French planes are combing the Atlantic for the missing aircraft, but it was far from land when it disappeared, making the search even more it difficult. A French transportation minister ruled out hijacking and noted that the plane would be out of fuel by now: “Nothing on Spanish radar, nothing on Moroccan radar, nothing on French radar—we seriously have to fear the worst.”