A family who took separate flights from Brazil to France has been torn apart after one of the planes crashed into the sea, killing everyone on board.

Swede Christina Schnabl, 34, and her five-year-old son Philipe boarded Air France Flight 447 which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1.

Meanwhile, her husband Fernando and three-year-old daughter Celine had landed safely in Paris after flying with a different airline.

They were waiting in Charles de Gaulle airport for the other half of their family to arrive when they learned the heartbreaking news that the Air France plane had disappeared off the radar.

It is thought the Schnabls, who were based in Rio, had chosen to fly separately because they were frequent fliers and had saved air miles giving them discount tickets for Air France and another carrier.

They were on their way to Sweden via France to visit Christine Schnabl's relatives when the tragedy struck.

Christine's mother, Annika Badre, told Swedish newspaper Expressen she had spoken with her young grandson shortly before he boarded the doomed flight.

"He said he wanted pea soup when he arrived. He liked that a lot," she said.

Badre added that her daughter, who had lived in Brazil for 10 years and worked for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Rio, missed her family in Sweden and was looking forward to coming home for a holiday.

She is said to have described Christine as a "ray of sunshine" who was part of an "international family" with many friends and relatives around the world.

The grandmother reportedly said that her three-year-old granddaughter Celine did not understand what had happened, while her son-in-law Fernando had been left devastated.

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