Seems that something really unusual occurred to cause this. The chances of a single smallish meteorite hitting a moving plane are pretty remote, but imagine a Tunguska-like event over that area of the Atlantic, maybe covering an area of several thousand sq. km.....
Rescuers seek Air France jet; still no answers
By BRADLEY BROOKS – 6 hours ago
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Searchers raced against the clock Tuesday to find wreckage of Air France Flight 447, which disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean with 228 people aboard. French investigators said a series of extraordinary events likely brought the airliner down.
Rescuers scanning deep waters in a vast zone extending far off northeast Brazil toward West Africa have not turned up confirmed signs of the plane, or any survivors. The 4-year-old Airbus jet was last heard from at 0214 GMT Monday en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
Investigators on both sides of the ocean worked through the night to determine what brought it down — wind and hail from towering thunderheads, lightning, or a catastrophic combination of factors.
The French government minister overseeing transportation, Jean-Louis Borloo, said French police were studying passenger lists.
He also said officials "do not believe that a simple bolt of lightning, something relatively classic in aviation, could have caused the loss of the craft."
"There really had to be a succession of extraordinary events to be able to explain this situation," Borloo said on RTL radio Tuesday.