Flight 447

Brazil Confirms Plane Crash

Wreckage and debris of Air France Flight 447 was found this morning hundreds of miles off Brazil's coast in the Atlantic, where the plane is confirmed to have crashed. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said today that military pilots "confirm that the plane went down in that area." So what happened to the plane that was carrying 228 people to Paris? Despite Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement that the “prospects of finding survivors were very small,” the search has intensified for the aircraft that disappeared on its route from Brazil to Paris. The New York Times now reports that the aircraft is “presumably at the bottom of the Atlantic,” but, in the words of Sarkozy, “no hypothesis” of what happened has been discounted. Now several speculations are emerging: experts believe the plane may have flown into a lightning strike, or into the fiercest part of a tropical storm. But pilots are trained to go around thunderstorms rather than through them, and aircrafts are built to withstand thunder and lightning. A Pentagon official said there was no evidence of “foul play” in the plane’s disappearance. The Brazilian airline TAM released a statement saying that another pilot flying the same route spotted a fire in the ocean after 447 went missing. Two Brazilian air force jets are scanning the area along with a French search plane, and Brazilian ships are on the way to the patch of ocean where the plane may have crashed. According to Pierre Henri Gourgeon, chief executive of Air France-KLM, “Lightning alone is not enough to explain the loss of this plane, and turbulence alone is not enough. It is always a combination of factors.” He continued, “A completely unexpected situation occurred on board the aircraft.”