An Air France jet with 228 people disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean Monday en route from Brazil to Paris. The plane ran into severe weather shortly before it was last heard from, and authorities expressed little hope that any survivors would be found.
If there are no survivors, it would be the world's worst aviation disaster since 2001.
The 216 passengers included 126 men, 82 women, 7 children and a baby, Air France said. There were 61 French and 58 Brazilians; 30 other countries were represented, including two Americans.
Air France said it expressed "its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew members" aboard Flight 447.
Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said the pilot had 11,000 hours of flying experience, including 1,700 hours flying this aircraft.
Experts said the absence of a mayday call meant something happened very quickly.
"The conclusion to be drawn is that something catastrophic happened on board that has caused this airplane to ditch in a controlled or an uncontrolled fashion," Jane's Aviation analyst Chris Yates told The Associated Press. "Potentially it went down very quickly and so quickly that the pilot on board didn't have a chance to make that emergency call."
Airbus spokeswoman Maggie Bergsma said it was the first fatal accident of a A330-200 since a test flight in 1994 went wrong, killing seven people in Toulouse.
The Airbus A330-200 is a twin-engine, long-haul, medium-capacity passenger jet that can hold up to 253 passengers. There are 341 in use worldwide, flying up to 7,760 miles a trip.