BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of victims onboard the crashed Air France jet which included nine Chinese citizens.
"We lament the deaths of all the victims and express our deep condolences to their families," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular press briefing.
He said nine Chinese citizens were onboard the Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris carrying 228 people.
The Foreign Ministry required Chinese embassies in France and Brazil as well as the consulate in Rio de Janeiro to contact relevant departments of those countries, Air France and relevant travel agencies to find out information about the Chinese passengers aboard the missing plane, Qin said.
The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Chinese Foreign Ministry had set up a round-the-clock hotline, 010-65964087, to keep in close contacts of the relatives of the Chinese passengers and offer latest information.
"We will closely follow the rescue work of the crashed jet, and assist the relatives of the victims to deal with the aftermath," Qin said.
Investigators are working with Air France, Airbus and meteorologists to determine what caused the crash of the airliner, but the jet's black boxes are scattered across a vast undersea mountain range about four miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.