The Air France flight that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean early today after leaving Rio de Janeiro for Paris is believed to have crashed, Reuters reports. Mechanical malfunctions kept the aircraft's crew from keeping in touch with air-traffic controllers after they reported serious turbulence about 4 hours into the flight. "It is probably a combination of circumstances that could have led to the crash," an airline rep said.
The Brazilian military dispatched planes and ships to search for survivors. Among the 216 passengers on the Airbus A330 were seven children and a baby; the plane carried a crew of 12. The crash would be the first ever by an operational A330. "Modern airliners do not just go missing," an industry expert told Bloomberg. "They were en route and should have been fine."