France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) and transport minister Jean-Louis Borloo speak at the crisis center at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris June 1, 2009.[Agencies]
RIO DE JANEIRO - Search planes scoured the waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, looking for the remains of an Air France jetliner that disappeared in a storm with 228 people on board.
The Airbus A330 went missing on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said there was little chance of finding any survivors.
France and Brazil sent military aircraft and ships to try to locate wreckage between Brazil and West Africa.
Brazilian carrier TAM said the crew of one of its planes saw "bright spots" on the surface of the ocean. But Brazil's air force said a merchant ship in the area found no signs of burning debris from the Air France jet.
"We will search all night long and keep going through dawn," said Colonel Jorge Amaral of the Brazilian air force. "We have to work as if it were possible to find survivors."
If none are found, it would be the worst disaster in Air France's 75-year history, more deadly than the crash of one of the company's supersonic Concorde planes in 2000.
Air France flight 447 left Brazil on Sunday night and lost contact with air traffic controllers in the early hours of Monday morning.