Stock markets in London and New York Shares slumped in the minutes after the crash.
At 2.37pm the FTSE 100 Index was down 178.9 points at 5065.3, after being down around 30 points at lunchtime.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average also tumbled, falling 171.67 points at 2.38pm to 9436.33.
Shares in airline stocks were badly affected, with British Airways falling 13 per cent and airports operator BAA down five per cent.
However, gold rose gaining $2.30 at Monday's afternoon fixing in London to $280.00 a troy ounce compared with the morning fix at $277.70 an ounce.
Traders said the markets were waiting to see whether the crash was the result of a terrorist attack. If it proved to be a deliberate act, gold did not have much scope for further gains but was unlikely to fall much either.Reuse content