Update, June 2: Here is an interesting piece from the London Daily Mail with graphics of the timeline. The lightning strike was nearly an hour before the electronic signals alerting Air France to a power failure. The news reports yesterday made it sound like these were simultaneous events.
An Airbus A330-200 is involved in the missing Air France flight that has surpassed fuel exhaustion time.
The airplane reported an electrical problem in proximity to a storm with heavy turbulence.
The A330 up to now had a perfect safety record with passengers on board (there was a fatal crash involving a test flight carrying only pilots and engineers). But there were recent incidents with Qantas Airways in which it was believed electronic signals from a nearby military installations interfered with electronic systems. In one instance, the plane lost altitude at a rapid rate.
Top on the list of investigative points will be (in no particular order) whether the electrical problem magnified to cause loss of control; whether the storm caused an “upset” and loss of control; whether the storm may have caused turbulence severe enough to prompt a structural failure; and whether a bomb or other terrorist act may have been involved.
The plane was 3-3 1/2 hours into the flight when the problems were reported and said to be near an island. There was no immediate indication whether the island had a landing strip.