Germanwings Plane Crash: Recovery Mission Underway, Black Box Reportedly Located

A Germanwings plane crashed in the French Alps Tuesday morning, killing all 144 passengers and six crew on board. The first images from of the debris site show that some kind of a catastrophic event took place, which resulted in the complete disintegration of the aircraft.

The mountainside in the remote location is littered with pieces of debris, which are no larger than a car, according to eyewitnesses. Some locals also reported hearing loud noises, which they attributed to military planes that frequently fly over the area, just before the Germanwings plane crashed between Barcelonette and Dignes-Les-Blanc.

The Airbus 320 went down about 430 miles south-southeast of Paris after leaving Barcelona, Spain en route to Dusseldorf, Germany. “There is nothing left but debris and bodies,” tweeted Christopher Castaner, Deputy Mayor of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

German Airbus A320 Crashes In Southern French Alps

Initial reports indicated that the pilot had sent a distress signal to air traffic controllers. However, during a press conference, Germanwings CEO, Thomas Winkelmann, could not confirm this information.

“We cannot report anything precise,” Winkelmann said regarding the distress signal. “We have not received any specific information from the radar authority.”

The first photos of the the Germanwings crash site are surfacing on social media and show the extent of the devastation. Reports indicate that a group of 16 high school students, along with their chaperones, who were returning from a field trip in Spain, perished in the accident, as did two babies.

Early on, French President Francois Hollande announced the grave news, indicating that the Germanwings plane crash will have no survivors.

It is unclear what happened to the Airbus a320, which appeared to be flying on course and at the right altitude. Weather doesn’t appear to be a factor, as meteorologists report fair conditions and light winds at the time.

The Germanwings plane crashed after descending from 38,000 feet to approximately 5,000 feet, according to the airline.

Germanwings has been using Twitter to keep passengers’ families abreast of the latest information, as they await news of what happened to their loved ones. No names have been released at this time, but the majority of passengers were from Spain.

Fox News is reporting this afternoon that one of the black boxes has been located at the Germanwings plane crash site, which will help answer the many questions surrounding this latest aviation tragedy. The debris field extends over a mile.

[Photos by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images]