A pilot from Brazil's airline TAM possibly spotted a burning piece of wreckage on the Atlantic Ocean while he was crossing the Atlantic early on Monday morning.
The Brazilian Air Force confirmed late on Monday that the pilot saw 'orange-coloured spots' in the middle of the Atlantic. The observation could have approximately corresponded to the time Air France 447 disappeared from radar.
AF447, with 228 people on board, went missing at about 0215 GMT on Monday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in Paris the chances of finding any survivors are 'very slim'.
The TAM crew "saw glowing spots on the high sea on its path between Europe and Brazil, about 1,300 km off the island Fernando de Noronha," according to media reports based on an announcement by the TAM airline.
Fernando de Noronha is about 350 km off the Brazilian coast. TAM informed Brazilian authorities of the sighting.
The Brazilian defence ministry said the search for the missing plane started around 0530 GMT, four hours after the plane disappeared from radar screens, around the island.