Air France Tragedy Stumps Investigators
Pilot on separate flight may have seen fire in ocean
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2009 6:30 AM CDT
View at the Arrivals doors at Roissy Paris airport after it was annouced that an Air France Airbus A330 was missing between Rio de Janeiro and Paris, Monday June 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
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(Newser) – As French and Brazilian military aircraft continue to search the Atlantic Ocean for signs of lost Air France Flight 447, investigators are mulling a range of possible explanations—lightning, bad electronics, a pilot error, or a combination of the three. Late last night the Brazilian airline TAM said its pilots spotted "several orange points," which they suspected was fire, in the ocean along the flight's route around the time it disappeared.

Search teams are facing an immense task, as the flight made no contact before it disappeared above an ocean with depths that stretch to 15,000 feet. Investigators and aviation experts are particularly disturbed by the lack of any distress signal. "This was so catastrophic, no signals, no nothing," said one air safety consultant. "Then bang, it is gone."