A French airliner with more than 200 people on board vanished today while over the Atlantic on a flight from Brazil to Paris.
The Air France flight, carrying 228 passengers and crew left Rio de Janeiro yesterday and was due in Paris today at 10.15 Irish time.
The Brazilian Air Force said it was searching near the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha.
A spokesman said the search and rescue mission was mounted after the jet failed to make regular radio contact.
Air France spokeswoman Brigitte Barrand said: "Air France regrets to announce that it is without news from Air France flight 447 flying from Rio to Paris.
“Air France shares the emotion and worry of the families concerned.”
She said the airline has installed an information centre at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport for the families of those aboard.