On 24 March a Germanwings A320 aircraft flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf crashed in the southern French Alps with 150 passengers on board, police and aviation officials have confirmed. There were no survivors.
The Airbus was carrying 144 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew members, French newspaper La Provence said. The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “We of course don’t know the reasons for the crash. We obviously fear that the 142 to 150 passengers and crew died today, given the conditions of this crash.”
An aviation Twitter feed says that a distress call was received by ATC at 9.47am with the last words from the pilot’s cockpit being “Emergency, emergency”, as opposed to mayday call, French journalist John Walton said.
A search and recovery mission began immediately with an emergency helicopter and over 200 police officers arriving at the crash site within minutes of the news. This morning the search team was back at the site to look for clues and indeed the black box of the plane.
Officials warn the operation could last for days in a remote mountain ravine between Digne and Barcelonnette. The Airbus flight 4U 9525 crashed after an eight-minute rapid descent, officials say.
Of the 144 passengers, 67 were German citizens, including 16 pupils who were returning from an exchange trip. There has been a day of mourning at the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium school in Haltern-am-See, north-west Germany, where the students were from.
French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy are expected to visit the crash scene.