For the moment, only has been one of the crewmen rescued without being aware of whether he is alive or dead, said the prefecture of Pyrenees-Atlantiques.
The aircraft had taken off from an airfield in Perpignan, Southern France, which was to return after the test flight, noted the sources, who said he was there to be repaired by the French company EAS, he said.
For reasons not yet determined, the plane crashed about eight kilometers off the coast of Saint-Cyprien, near Perpignan, in the midst of bad weather, with heavy rain and wind tramontana.
French radars lost its signal at around 1545 GMT and shortly later his remains were spotted by a civilian boat alerted rescue services.
Two ships from the coast guard, a plane of the French navy maneuvers near that place and a helicopter were sent to the area, Civil Defense sources said.
Night and the weather conditions are hampering efforts to search for the missing.
The plane was leased by Germany's XL Airways from Air New Zealand.... On board were two German pilots, three Air New Zealand engineers and an inspector from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, said a spokesman for XL Airways. - BBC News