A Germanwings Airbus — a subsidiary of Lufthansa –traveling between Barcelona, Spain and Dusseldorf, Germany has crashed in the French Alps.
French President, Francois Hollande, said they do not expect any survivors from the crash of Germanwings A320, which is located in a remote area of the French Alps, between Barcelonette and Digne-Les-Bains, in the south of France. Information is conflicting. However, it is believed the debris field is widespread.
A widespread debris field could mean an incident happened inside the aircraft, experts say. However, if the plane remained intact until it crashed, it could mean loss of power or some other mechanical issue.
There were also different accounts, as to how many souls were on board. Initial reports indicate 142 passengers and six crew perished in the crash, but later information says that 150 passengers were on board the German airbus when it crashed.
Of those, 45 passengers are believed to be Spanish, according to government officials. As news spread at the airport, family members were seen visibly affected by the tragic news. This is a popular vacation destination for Germans, several news outlets are reporting.
Lufthansa put out a statement saying, “This is a dark day” for the German company, which has an outstanding safety record with Germanwings. Their crews are considered one of the best in the industry. This particular aircraft is said to have been 24-years-old.
Analysts are perplexed as to why the German Airbus met its catastrophic fate. The accident happened after the German Airbus descended from 38,000 feet to 5,000 feet, in what appears to be a normal descent.
The French transport Minister says the crew placed a distress call at 5,000 feet, and was a normal situation just prior to the crash. According to meteorologists, weather was fair and winds were calm, so there is no reason to believe it had an effect on the accident.
Experts believe some catastrophic event must have occurred for the plane that was seemingly descending normally, to end up crashing in a remote area of the French Alps. The winds were 50-60 mph, considered normal, and in the direction of the flight.
The German Airbus flightpath went over the Mediterranean, according to John Costello from MSNBC, before it crashed. The location is remote, which means a difficult recovery process, as anxious families await news about their loved ones.
The plane crashed at 11:00 a.m., a spokesman for Germanwings said in a statement to the media, carrying 150 people on board. A news conference is expected later this morning.
The crash of the Germanwings airbus comes just a few weeks after Malaysia Airlines marked the one year anniversary of the disappearance of MH370, one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history. Stay tuned for more information, as it becomes available.
UPDATE: Germanwings officials said at a press conference Tuesday morning that the debris field is located at 6,550 feet in the French Alps, making rescue efforts extremely difficult. Airline authorities also could not confirm that there was distress call from the cockpit to air traffic controllers, as was previously reported.
The German Airbus A320 had a controlled descent, which took eight minutes, officials said.
[Image via Lukas Rebec / Shutterstock]