Missing plane reported short-circuit

*This does not make a hell of a lot of sense to me.*

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 1 (UPI) — A passenger plane en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro over the Atlantic Monday reported a technical difficulty in the aircraft before disappearing.

The crew of Air France jetliner reported a short-circuit in the plane’s electrical equipment before vanishing over the ocean, Brazil’s Agencia Estado news agency reported Monday.

French officials expressed “real pessimism” Monday about finding an Air France jetliner.

Airport authorities in Paris said the Airbus A330-200 jet with 228 people on board dropped off radar screens somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off from Rio de Janeiro for Paris.

“We can fear the worst,” said French Transportation Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, adding there was “real pessimism at this hour,” The Daily Telegraph reported.

The airline said the plane sent automatic messages reporting electrical problems in stormy weather before it lost contact, CNN reported.

“I can say without doubt that this is a catastrophe,” Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said during a news conference, adding “the entire Air France company and its staff are very moved and affected by this.”

Other French officials said they had “no hope” for Air France Flight 447, its 216 passengers and 12 crew members.

The Brazilian air force undertook a search-and-rescue operation for the aircraft near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, CNN reported.

Families of passengers gathered at a crisis center established at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport, the plane’s destination.

The aircraft was about 190 miles northeast of the Brazilian coastal city of Natal when contact was lost, three hours and 20 minutes after taking off from Rio de Janeiro, officials said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said he was informed of the situation and ordered relevant government agencies to hunt “for any sign of the plane.”

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/06/01/Missing-plane-reported-short-circuit/UPI-23951243854793/

Incident: Air France B744 at Toronto on Aug 24th 2008, navigation and fuel system errors

The crew of an Air France Boeing 747-400, registration F-GITF performing flight AF353 from Toronto,ON (Canada) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), declared PAN and requested to return to Toronto due to errors in the navigation and fuel systems. The crew dumped fuel for 40 minutes and landed safely back to Toronto 90 minutes after declaring PAN and 110 minutes after departure.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AFR353/history/20080824/2107Z/CYYZ/LFPG

Air France jet skids off Montreal runway; no injuries

MONTREAL (AFP) — An Air France Boeing 747 arriving from Paris skidded off the runway while landing Tuesday evening at Montreal’s airport, but no one was hurt, Air France and airport personnel said.

The accident took place just before 6:00 pm (2200 GMT), said Stephanie Lepage, a spokeswoman for Montreal-Pierre Eliott Trudeau International Airport.

The plane was carrying 490 passengers and 18 crew, she added.

The plane came to rest with its nose in the grass between two runways, television images showed. Canadian media reported that the plane had a problem with its undercarriage.

“Flight AF 346 … at the start of its landing, ground to a halt with its front undercarriage (ending up) outside the runway,” Air France said in a statement.

“Nobody was injured and the passengers … were able to reach the terminal to transfer later to other flights,” it said, adding that the time of the accident was 5:44 pm (2144 GMT).

Passengers aboard the flight said the plane appeared to have trouble breaking.

“The breaks suddenly came on … We remained calm inside the plane … it was no problem. We could see the front tire had blown out and was resting on the grass,” one passenger told reporters.

“The breaks probably seized up. We waited one hour aboard the plane, but it went by quickly,” said another passenger.

“All’s that left is for us to get the luggage left on the plane,” he added.

Normal air traffic resumed later on the other runways of the airport.

Lepage said the Transportation Safety Board of Canada would investigate the mishap, and Air France also said it would conduct its own probe.

On August 2, 2005, an Air France Airbus A340 arriving from Paris overshot the runway in Toronto during a storm, plunged into a ditch and caught fire.

The 297 passengers and 12 crew members of that flight were evacuated in record time, but ten passengers and two crew members were hurt.

The weather in Montreal Tuesday evening was fair.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gYYgQoXJAkoOkSFYjMuLa80T8bIA