MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Air France has confirmed that there were 228 people on board a plane that went missing over the Atlantic Ocean en-route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris earlier on Monday.
Earlier media reports said that an automated message concerning an electrical short had been sent from the plane at 02:14 GMT after the airliner hit turbulence. This was the last contact with the flight. Neither civilian nor military radars have been able to locate the aircraft.
The air company said that the airliner was carrying 126 male passengers, 82 female passengers, eight children and 12 crewmembers.
Air France added that the airliner had been in service since 2005 and the pilot had some 11,000 flight hours to his name.
Both Air France and French authorities have suggested the airplane could have been hit by lightning.
The Brazilian air force has begun search efforts near the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha 350 kilometers (218 miles) to the northeast of the Brazilian mainland, the last location the airplane was in contact with ground controllers.