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Airbus A320 crashes in southern France, 148 feared dead

The arrivals board shows flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona without a status at the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday, after a Germanwings passenger jet carrying more than 140 people crashed in the French Alps region as it travelled from Barcelona to Düsseldorf.

The arrivals board shows flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona without a status at the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday, after a Germanwings passenger jet carrying more than 140 people crashed in the French Alps region as it travelled from Barcelona to Düsseldorf.   | Photo Credit: Frank Augstein

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says a helicopter has managed to land near where a passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed in the Alps, but found no survivors.

The weather in the area deteriorated on Tuesday afternoon, with a chilly rain falling.

Gilbert Sauvan, of the local council, told Les Echos newspaper, “The plane is disintegrated.”

“The largest debris is the size of a car,” he added.

The Germanwings Airbus 320 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Germany, came down in the mountains on Tuesday morning after an eight-minute descent from its cruising height. Officials said they are still establishing whether there was a distress call.

Long descent before crash

The boss of airline Germanwings says the plane went into a long descent before it crashed into the French Alps, likely killing all 150 people on board.

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said the plane began descending again shortly after it reached its cruising height following takeoff from Barcelona Airport. The descent lasted eight minutes, he told reporters in Cologne. Radar and air traffic control contact broke off at 10.53 a.m. local time.

Germanwings said the passenger manifest included two babies. Officials believe there were 67 German nationals on board.

Barcelona, Dusseldorf airports to help kin, friends

Officials at two airports are rushing to provide help and information to relatives and friends of the passengers aboard the crashed Germanwings flight 9525.

In Barcelona, from where the plane took off Tuesday morning, police escorted people, some of them crying, through a terminal and took them to a secure part of the airport. They did not speak to the media, and one woman held a jacket over the head of a sobbing woman.

In Dusseldorf, the destination airport, family members arriving at the airport were taken from the main terminal to a nearby building. Airport employees partly covered the building with sheets to keep the relatives out of the eye of the public.

Merkel to visit crash site

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will head to the remote mountain in the French Alps where a Germanwings passenger plane crashed with 150 people aboard.

She says her thoughts are “with those people who so suddenly lost their lives, among them many compatriots”.

Ms. Merkel says she will travel to the region on Wednesday, a day after her Foreign and Transport Ministers were heading to the crash site.

She is urging people not to speculate on the cause of the crash until an investigation can be conducted.

‘Difficult to get to site of the crash’

The owner of a French Alpine camping ground says he heard a series of loud noises in the air before a Germanwings passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed to the ground.

Pierre Polizzi told The Associated Press the noise began at 11.30 a.m. local time.

“There are often fighter jets flying over, so I thought it sounded just like that. I looked outside but I couldn’t see any fighter planes.”

“The noise I heard was long — like 8 seconds — as if the plane was going more slowly than a military plane speed. There was another long noise about 30 seconds later.”

Mr. Polizzi said it would be difficult to get to the site of the crash. “The mountain is snowy and very hostile.”

Spain’s king cancels state visit to France

Spanish King Felipe has cancelled his state visit to France following the crash of a plane in the southern French Alps.

The plane was flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany, and Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters in Seville that there were 45 people aboard the plane with Spanish last names but that authorities have not confirmed how many of them were Spanish.

King Felipe met with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday morning before ending his visit.

Germanwings confirms crash

Lufthansa's budget carrier Germanwings confirmed its flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps.

Germanwings said there were 144 passengers and six crew aboard a plane that crashed in the French Alps.

Manager Oliver Wagner did not say whether there were any survivors and added it was not currently possible to give more information on how the accident occurred. “I promise that we will do everything to clear up the events thoroughly,” he said. “We are endlessly sorry for what has happened.”

Other officials have given slightly differing figures for the number on board.

The Germanwings logo, normally maroon and yellow, was blacked out on its Twitter feed.

The A320 family

The Airbus 320 plane that went down in the French Alps is a workhorse of modern aviation. Similar to the Boeing 737, the single-aisle, twin-engine jet is used to connect cities that are between one and five hours apart. Worldwide, 3,606 A320s are in operation, according to Airbus, which also makes the smaller but near-identical A318 and A319 and the stretched A321. An additional 2,486 of those jets are flying.

The Germanwings A320 crashed on Tuesday in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. No survivors are expected.

The A320 family has a good safety record, with just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis.

Lufthansa awaits info

The CEO of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, says he doesn’t yet have any information about what happened to its flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf that French officials say has crashed in the Alps.

“My deepest sympathy is with all the relatives and friends of our passengers and crew on 4U 9525,” Carsten Spohr was cited in a tweet by Lufthansa as saying. “If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.”





Antonio San Jose, spokesman for Spanish airport authority AENA, told the Onda Cero radio station that authorities do not yet know how many Spaniards were on the jet but that the authority’s best information is that 147 people were aboard the plane.

“It would be a miracle if there were survivors but hopefully there will be. We do not know the causes, simply that it lost contact,” Mr. San Jose said.

Hollande speaks to Merkel

French President Francois Hollande has spoken briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express solidarity following the crash of a Germanwings plane in southern France.

The German ambassador is leaving imminently with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve for the area of the crash.

The Airbus A320 crashed in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. Mr. Holland says no survivors are expected.

Spanish King Felipe and his wife are in France on a previously scheduled visit and are currently meeting Hollande.

Debris found

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet says debris from the crash of an Airbus A320 has been located and the plane crashed at 2,000m altitude in the Alps.

Mr. Brandet told BFM television that he expected “an extremely long and extremely difficult” search and rescue operation because of the area’s remoteness.

The airplane sent out a distress signal at 10.45 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Mr. Brandet said.

No survivors

French President Francois Hollande says no survivors are likely in the Alpine crash of a passenger jet carrying 148 people.

The Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed on Tuesday in the French Alps region as it traveled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, French officials said. Eric Ciotti, the head of the regional council, said search-and-rescue teams were headed to the crash site at Meolans-Revels.

In a live briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Hollande said the area of the crash was remote and it was not clear whether anyone on the ground had been hurt. Hollande said it was probable that a number of the victims are German.

“It’s a tragedy on our soil,” he said, adding he would be speaking shortly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The French newspaper La Provence, citing aviation officials, said the Airbus plane carried at least 142 passengers, two pilots and four flight attendants.



The airplane sent out a distress signal at 10-45 a.m. GMT.
There were 148 people on board. 142 passengers and 6 crew members.
The plane was cruising at 38,000 ft. when it dropped to 6,800 ft. where the radar signal was lost.
Survivors unlikely, says the French President.
Airbus A320 crashes in southern France
>First report on the Germanwings crash >Social media reactions >A look at the aviation disasters of 2014
What we know
France’s Interior Ministry says debris located in Alpine jet crash at 2,000m altitude.

Dusseldorf

Barcelona



A graph of previous #4U9525 flight’s altitude and speed with today’s below

A spokesman for France's DGAC aviation authority said the airliner crashed near the town of Barcelonnette about 100 km north of the French Riviera city of Nice. A statement from the Prime Minister's office said the crash happened in Meolans-Revel, a remote and sparsely inhabited commune in the foothills of the French Alps.

Airbus said it was aware of reports about the crash.

"We are aware of the media reports," Airbus said on Twitter. "All efforts are now going towards assessing the situation. We will provide further information as soon as available."

The crashed A320 is 24 years old and has been with the parent Lufthansa group since 1991, according to online database airfleets.net

The local La Provence newspaper said the Airbus A320 was carrying 142 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew, citing aviation officials. La Provence said the airline has crashed in the Alps region.

According to reports, the Airbus A320 climbed to 38,000ft, started descending, then lost signal at 6,800ft.



The Germanwings flight crashed at Digne et Barcelonnette, the paper said. It cited French civil aviation authorities for the number of people. Airbus said it is aware of the reports of a crash but could not confirm.

This flighradar24 image shows the fligh path of the Germanwings flight. It's seen dropping from a cruise of 38,000 feet after crossing the French coast.

French President Francois Hollande said he believed none of the 148 people on board the Germanwings plane that crashed on Tuesday had survived.

"There were 148 people on board," Hollande said. "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors."

He said there was likely to be a significant number of German victims.

He added that "the accident happened in a zone that is particularly hard to access".

Eric Ciotti, the head of the regional council, said search-and-rescue teams were headed to the crash site at Meolans-Revels.

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