Air France crash thought to be caused by system failure

A system failure following a short circuit is thought to have caused an Air...

A system failure following a short circuit is thought to have caused an Air France Airbus to crash into the Atlantic Ocean today.

See also: Opinion: Could the Air France crash have been related to on-board computer systems?

The aircraft disappeared off radar screens between Brazil and France after it hit thunderstorms at around 3am BST.

On board were 216 passengers and 12 crew. The passengers included 126 men and 82 women, seven children and a baby.

An automated message was received at 2.14am informing air traffic controllers of a failure of the electrical system.

Air France says it has sent all the information it has on the disappearance of the flight to the French Accident Investigation Bureau for civil aviation, which deals with technical investigations into accidents.

The company said, "An automatic message was received from the aircraft at 2:14am (4:14am in Paris) indicating a failure in the electric circuit in an area a long way off the coast."

The aircraft was powered with General Electric CF6-80E engines, and its last maintenance check was on 16 April 2009.

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