Germanwings Flight 4U9525 Crashes In French Alps, 150 On Board Believed Dead
A Lufthansa Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in the South of France on Tuesday, reportedly killing all 150 people on board.
Germanwings Flight 4U9525 Crashes In France
Germanwings Flight 4U9525 was en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf when it suffered an unexplained, 8-minute descent that ended in the fatal crash. The plane had just reached its cruising altitude when it began to lose altitude steadily for some unknown reason, and air traffic control lost contact with the plane when it had descended to 6,000 ft.
It’s unclear whether or not a distress call was made, or what the pilots were doing at the time of the descent, but the plane’s black box has reportedly been recovered and should provide insight into the events leading up to the crash.
A Germanwings spokesman assured the public that the Captain had 10 years’ of experience flying the Airbus at Germanwings, and warned against any speculation until an investigation can unfold. “It is very important that we do not engage in speculation… We need to get to the bottom of what happened as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.
“All employees of Germanwings and Lufthansa are in deep sympathy with their thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew members,” Germanwings said in a statement.
French Authorities Believe There Were No Survivors
Germanwings and Lufthansa have set up a hotline for grieving family members, but it’s unclear how they will proceed. Rescue efforts led by French authorities are currently underway, but French President François Hollande said in a statement that they are not hopeful of finding any survivors. “The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors… The accident happened in a zone that is particularly hard to access,” Hollande said.
The plane crashed into the French Alps, and the wreckage does not show any promising signs of survivors. French officials revealed that the biggest piece of debris was no bigger than a small car. Furthermore, the area is set to receive severe weather later Tuesday afternoon, which will force the rescue helicopters be grounded and make the crash site inaccessible until Wednesday.
“The aircraft debris has been localized, and we can only fear a heavy death toll. The first information from rescuers suggests that the number of survivors, if there are any, will be low, but until we have reached the site by land, we cannot say with any certainty. The rescuers are being taken in by helicopter,” said spokesman for the French Interior Ministry Pierre-Henry Brandet.
The 144 passengers onboard included a group of 16 high school students from Haltern, Germany. The teenagers were traveling on a school trip accompanied by two teachers. In addition to the students, there were reportedly 2 babies on board.
French, German and Spanish leaders have expressed their sympathy. German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel wrote, “We are all stunned by this terrible catastrophe that has taken so many people. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives. They deserve our sympathy. They now need all possible support.”