28 Nov 2008

Air NZ Airbus in fatal crash in France

7:35 am on 28 November 2008

An Air New Zealand Airbus has reportedly crashed off the southwestern coast of France.

One body has been found and six people are missing, following the Airbus A-320 crash on Thursday.

Regional officials in the Pyrenees-Orientales prefecture report it was a training flight and say the plane was an Air New Zealand aircraft.

A civilian vessel saw the crash take place off the coast while it was coming into land near Perpignan at about 5pm.

A Maritime official told CNN that floating debris had been located. The official said the test flight took off from Perpignan in southern France.

It is not known whether those on the test flight were Airbus or Air New Zealand personnel.

No further details are available.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand says it's trying trying to verify if the reports are true.

Deputy chief executive Norm Thompson says an emergency response procedure has been activated and the company's executive team is now meeting.