What happened is still a mystery, but the metal fragments found in the ocean off the coast of Brazil mean there is no hope of finding survivors.
The victims were from 32 different countries, including a Hungarian woman who worked with disabled children, a team of three promising young doctors from Ireland, and an American geologist and his wife.
Commercial airplane disasters are thankfully rare, but they serve as a powerful reminder to all of us: Modern aviation has made the world smaller. But sometimes even the most sophisticated technology is no match for Mother Nature.
Something like this makes everyone feel vulnerable as we allow ourselves to contemplate what those final seconds were like.
Our prayers are now with the families of the 228 souls who perished over the Atlantic - families left only with unspeakable loss, and memories.
That's a page from my notebook.