Early Tuesday morning, an Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed in a very snowy region of the French Alps and all 150 passengers on board have died. French President Francois Hollande believes none of those on board the A320 were fortunate enough to survive such a horrific crash.
Germanwings confirmed Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crash-landed in the French Alps with 144 passengers and six crewmembers on board.
Airline officials said the plane sent out a distress call at 0947 GMT (0547 ET), about 52 minutes after take-off.
Unofficial web tracking data suggests the aircraft went into a sharp descent from its cruising height of 35,000 feet but that it did not appear to have plummeted as quickly an aircraft known to have lost complete control.
The incident occurred over an alpine region known for skiing, hiking and rafting, but which is hard for rescue operations to reach.
“There will be a lot of cloud cover this afternoon, with local storms, snow above 1,800 meters and relatively low clouds. That will not help the helicopters in their work,” a local weather network affiliate reported.
Hollande said there were likely to be significant numbers of Germans on the flight and Spain’s deputy prime minister said 45 passengers were possibly native Spaniards.
This is the first crash of a large passenger jet on French soil since the Concorde disaster just outside Paris about 15 years ago. The A320 are the world’s most used passenger jets and before the incident had a pretty safe safety record.