Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320 carrying 150 passengers and crew, crashed into the French Alps yesterday between Digne and Barcelonnette. Officials said there were no survivors. The plane was flying to Dusseldorf, Germany from Barcelona, Spain. An emergency recovery team made its way to the crash site and reportedly recovered one of the plane's flight recorders.
According to French authorities, 144 passengers were aboard the plane, reportedly including sixteen school children who were travelling on a German exchange project. A further six crew were present, including the two pilots. The flight was predominantly made up of Spanish and German citizens.
The pilots did not send a distress signal. Various officials described the crash as an accident; the White House stated terrorism is not believed to be a factor. The weather reportedly was clear when the crash occurred. The plane descended for eight minutes before impact falling, by various reports, more than 30,000 feet.
French President François Hollande said regarding the accident "I would like to send all our solidarity to the family of the victims[...] It's a new air tragedy; we must know all the causes. We are in mourning because this accident happened on our territory". He said he has been in contact with both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and King Felipe VI of Spain, the latter of whom cancelled the remainder of his state visit to France.
According to French prosecutor Bruce Robin the plane was completely destroyed. He said "The body of the plane is in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage". He made the comments to Reuters news agency describing his view of the crash site from a helicopter.
Germanwings is owned by Lufthansa. CEO of Lufthansa Carsten Spohr said "We do not yet know what has happened to flight 4U 9525. My deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of our passengers and crew on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors."
The plane, registered as D-AIPX, had been in service for nearly 25 years. It first flew on November 29, 1990 and had been last checked earlier this month.