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UPDATE: ‘No Survivors Expected’ in Airbus A320 Crash in France as Search Continues

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An Airbus A320 operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline has “disintegrated” upon crashing in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

The plane, which was on a routine charter flight from from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, suddenly started losing altitude at a rate of 5,000 feet a minute while flying over the French Alps, crashing just after 0945 GMT Tuesday morning. Although the cause of the accident is not yet known, the fact the plane didn’t disintegrate before it hit the ground suggests a bomb or terrorism is not to blame.

The French government rushed a helicopter to the remote crash site, but found no survivors from the 150 passengers and crew on-board. It was to take several hours for the rest of the rescue team to arrive at the site by land, which sat at 2,000 meters above sea level. Among those dead were 67 Germans and 45 Spanish.

Speculation around the loss continues. Lufthansa has announced the captain was a veteran with 10 years experience and 6,000 flight hours on the Airbus A320. Some have pointed out that the plane was one of the oldest of its type in service, having been built in 1990.

Although the two pilots didn’t make an official SOS call before the crash, they called out “emergency, emergency” over the radio.

Sky News reports the remarks of a camp-site owner who lives close to the crash area, who said: “I heard a series of loud noises in the air.

“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 eight seconds – as if the plane was going more slowly than a military plane speed. There was another long noise after about 30 seconds.”

The black box has now been recovered, and the investigation into the last moments of the German Wings aircraft can begin in earnest.

German operator Lufthansa have made a statement on the crash by twitter:

 

Addition reporting from Reuters


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