An Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed Tuesday in a remote area of the French Alps
A commercial plane plummeted for eight minutes before crashing in the French Alps en route from Spain to Germany on Tuesday, with 150 people believed to be on board.
The Germanwings Airbus A320 airplane was flying from Barcelona in Spain to Düsseldorf in Germany, carrying 144 passengers, including two babies, along with six crew members, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said at a news conference. The plane went down near the village of Digne-Les-Bains, high in the mountains, just before 11 a.m. local time, and debris was found nearby.
German air accident investigators are on their way to the crash site, the Ministry of Transport said. The team of experts from Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents hope to establish the cause of the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320.
At least 67 German nationals were on board, officials said. Germanwings, a budget airline, is a subsidiary of Lufthansa.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the cause of the crash was not clear. “We of course don’t know the reasons for the crash,” he said. “We obviously fear that the 142 to 150 passengers and crew died today, given the conditions of this crash.”
The aircraft had climbed to 38,000 feet before the flight lost its signal at 6,800 feet, just before it crashed, according to FlightRadar24.
French President Francois Hollande said there are likely no French passengers or crew aboard the Germanwings flight that crashed over the Alps. Speaking alongside visiting Spanish King Felipe VI, Hollande said that the victims are likely of German, Spanish and Turkish nationalities.
There is no hope of finding any survivors, French police said. “There is no need for any rescue operations, everyone is dead,” said a police officer in the town of Le Vernet, near the crash site.
French aviation authority said Germanwings jet did not issue distress call, controllers declared distress phase.
No one survived the plane crash in southern France and it is likely to take days to recover the bodies of those on board due to difficult terrain, French police at the crash site said.
“It is going to take days to recover the victims, then the debris,” senior police officer Jean-Paul Bloy added.
Chancellor Merkel said the crash of Germanwings’ Flight 4u9525 was a shock that had plummeted Germany, France and Spain into “deep grief.”
“It is a moment of great sorrow,” she said. Merkel said she had in recent hours held telephone conversations with French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who had agreed to do everything possible to establish the cause of the crash. She expressed compassion for all those who had lost their lives and said all would be done to provide help.