Germanwings plane crash latest: 'No evidence of foul play' - Emirates24|7

Germanwings plane crash latest: 'No evidence of foul play'

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LATEST:  Germany's top security official says there is no evidence at this stage that foul play was involved in the plane crash in southern France. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that "according to the latest information there is no hard evidence that the crash was intentionally brought about by third parties." He says that authorities are nevertheless investigating all possible causes for the crash of a Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Spain on Tuesday in which 144 passengers and six crew members died. De Maiziere appealed to media to refrain from speculation about the causes of the crash.

UPDATE: The cockpit voice recorder recovered from the wreckage of the Germanwings Airbus that crashed killing all 150 aboard has been found damaged and has being taken to Paris for analysis, a source close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

"The black box that was found is the CVR," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) "was damaged. It has been transferred to Paris this morning."
A second so-called black box, in this case recording flight data, has yet to be found on the mountain in the French Alps where the Airbus A320 went down Tuesday.

Earlier report:

French police say to take days to recover bodies in air crash; Jet nosedived for eight minutes, says Germanwings; Crew did not send distress signal, says aviation official.

"The crew did not send a Mayday. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane was in distress because there was no contact with the crew of the plane," the source said; Pilot had 'more than 10 years' experience, 6,000 flight hours, says Germanwings; 67 Germans believed to have been on crash jet;  16 German school kids feared dead , says Spanish mayor.

EARLIER REPORT

A German airliner crashed near a ski resort in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board, in the worst plane disaster in mainland France in four decades.

France's junior transport minister said there were ‘no survivors’ from the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320, a low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa, in a remote part of the Alps that is extremely difficult to access.
Family members of those killed in Germanwings plane crash arrive at Barcelona's El Prat airport March 24, 2015. Lufthansa's budget carrier Germanwings confirmed its flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps. It said on its Twitter feed that 144 passengers and six crew members were on board the Airbus A320 aircraft.   REUTERS

Civil aviation authorities said they lost contact with the plane, which was carrying 144 passengers and six crew, and declared it was in distress at 10:30 am (0930 GMT).

"The distress signal showed the plane was at 5,000 feet in an abnormal situation," said Alain Vidalies, minister of state for transport.

Family members of passengers killed in Germanwings plane crash arrive at Barcelona's El Prat airport March 24, 2015. Lufthansa's budget carrier Germanwings confirmed its flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps. It said on its Twitter feed that 144 passengers and six crew members were on board the Airbus A320 aircraft.     REUTERS

Spanish King Felipe VI cut short his state visit to France on news of the tragedy, with a number of Spanish nationals believed to be among the dead along with Germans and possibly Turks.

French President Francois Hollande said the plane crashed in an area very difficult to access and rescuers would not be able to reach the site for several hours.

Family members of those killed in Germanwings plane crash arrive at Barcelona's El Prat airport March 24, 2015. Lufthansa's budget carrier Germanwings confirmed its flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed in the French Alps. It said on its Twitter feed that 144 passengers and six crew members were on board the Airbus A320 aircraft.    REUTERS

"I want to express all our solidarity to the families affected by this tragedy," Hollande told reporters.

The plane was travelling from the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf when it went down in the ski resort area of Barcelonnette.

A witness who was skiing near the crash site told a French television channel he ‘heard an enormous noise’ around the time of the disaster.

A French police helicopter despatched to the site of the crash reported spotting debris in a mountain range known as ‘Les Trois Eveches,’ which reaches 1,400 metres in altitude.

The government said ‘major rescue efforts’ had been mobilised, but accessing the remote region would present severe challenges.

"The zone is snow-bound and inaccessible to vehicles, but could be overflown by helicopters," said Vidalies.

The plane belonged to Germanwings, a low-cost affiliate of German airline Lufthansa based in Cologne which until now had no record of fatal accidents.

France's leading air traffic controller union SNCTA has called off a strike planned from Wednesday to Friday.

"We are suspending our planned strike as a result of the emotions created in the control rooms by the crash, particularly in Aix-en-Provence," the union's spokesman Roger Rousseau told AFP.

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said on twitter the airline had no immediate details on the crash, describing it as a "dark day."

"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."

Hollande spoke briefly by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and expressed solidarity with Germany.

Crisis cell

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve immediately headed to the scene while Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he had called an inter-ministerial crisis cell.

"We don't know the reasons for the crash, we clearly fear that the 150 passengers and personnel have been killed considering the circumstances of the crash," said Valls.

"All is being done to understand what happened and to help the families of the victims," he said.

Germanwings was due to hold a press conference at 1400 GMT but had no immediate comment on what caused the disaster, the worst in mainland France since a Turkish Airlines crash in 1974 that killed 346 people.

In 1981, a plane crashed on the island of Corsica with 180 people on board.

A spokesman for Airbus, the European aerospace giant, said it could not make any comment "for the moment".

"We have no information on the circumstances of the accident," the spokesman told AFP, adding that the company had opened a "crisis cell".

In July 2000, an Air France Concorde crashed shortly after take-off from Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport en route for New York, leaving 113 people, mainly Germans dead and eventually leading to the supersonic airliner being taken out of service.

The world's worst air disasters remain the March 27, 1977, collision of two Boeing 747s on the runway at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 people, and the August 12, 1985 crash into a mountainside of a Boeing 747 belonging to Japan Airlines, killing 520 people.

France's leading air traffic controller union SNCTA called off a strike planned from Wednesday to Friday after news of the crash.

"We are suspending our planned strike as a result of the emotions created in the control rooms by the crash, particularly in Aix-en-Provence," the union's spokesman Roger Rousseau told AFP.

Lufthansa itself was hit by a four-day pilots' strike last week, although this did not affect Germanwings.

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