Air France Flight 447 is lost over Atlantic Ocean

Military aircraft and warships from France and Brazil were combing the equatorial Atlantic in a desperate quest to find the wreckage of an Air France jet that disappeared with 228 people on board, including five Britons, after encountering treacherous midnight weather off Brazil.

The Airbus A330 ploughed into thunderstorms and heavy turbulence four hours into an overnight flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris early on Monday. Fifteen minutes later, the aircraft reported electrical faults through an automated message. Then nothing.

In total, 61 French people and 58 Brazilians were among the passengers on board AF flight 447, as well as 26 Germans and at least a dozen other nationalities. Seven children and a baby were aboard, as well as 12 French crew. There were slim hopes of survivors.

Reporting from Paris and Madrid -- Relatives waited in anguish for word of their loved ones late Monday after officials said there was little hope of finding any survivors of the Air France jetliner carrying 228 people that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Airbus A330 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris flew into a wall of tropical thunderstorms, encountering heavy turbulence and experiencing an electrical failure, shortly before disappearing Monday morning, authorities said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who met with relatives of those on Flight 447 at Charles de Gaulle airport, said no cause had been ruled out for what he described as the "worst catastrophe Air France has ever known."