Brazil's defence ministry has detailed the last known track of the missing Air France Airbus A330-200, and indicated that the jet may have reported a pressurisation problem as well as an electrical fault.
Flight AF447 had been en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris Charles de Gaulle with 228 occupants when it disappeared.
At 22:33 Brasilia local time, says the ministry, the aircraft made final radio contact with the eastern Brazilian Cindacta-3 Atlantic area control centre at Recife, one of four en route centres that oversee Brazilian airspace.
The aircraft contacted Cindacta-3 at the INTOL waypoint, some 350nm (565km) from Natal, a city on the Brazilian coast. It indicated that it would enter Dakar airspace, Senegal, at the TASIL waypoint - about 663nm (1,228km) from Natal just under 50min later, at 23:20 Brasilia time.
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AF447 left Cindacta-3 radar surveillance from the island of Fernando de Noronha, at 22:48. At this time it was cruising at 35,000ft at 453kt, says the defence ministry, with indications that the flight was "normal".
The aircraft did not contact air traffic control around the time of the expected transit of TASIL.
The ministry says that Air France has informed Cindacta-3 that, about 54nm (100km) from TASIL the flight transmitted a technical message concerning loss of pressurisation and an electrical failure.
Brazilian Air Force rescue teams from Recife initiated a search at 02:30 Brasilia time, involving a Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Embraer P-95 Bandeirante.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news