The family members of the 228 people aboard the Air France jet that disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean are now beginning the long and painful process of coming to terms with the fact that there are likely no survivors. It appears that the plane crashed into the sea after encountering "a towering wall of thunderstorms" somewhere in between Brazil and the African coast, the Associated Press reports. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also advised grieving family members that the "prospects of finding survivors were very small." Experts speculate that the crash must have occurred very rapidly, as it appears the pilot of the plane—who had ample experience flying the aircraft—did not even have time to send out a distress signal. It is also unlikely that a lightning bolt was the sole cause of the crash, but rather, a convergence of several factors caused the tragedy. One expert told the Associated Press that it is possible the plane flew directly into the most violent and dangerous part of the tropical thunderstorm.