Rescue teams now say there is “no hope of survivors” from an Airbus A320 crash in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Airbus A320 jet, owned by Air New Zealand, went down into the water at approximately 4 p.m. GMT, according to various reports from the region. Seven people were on-board. At least two bodies have been recovered so far.
The plane was on a maintenance-related test flight, and investigators believe everyone on-board was a pilot, airline employee, or aircraft maintenance worker from New Zealand. The crash occurred about 12.5 miles east of the city of Perpignan, close to the Spain border in southern France.
Searchers have discovered some pieces of floating debris spread over a wide area of the water. It’s not yet clear, though, what caused the crash.
The Airbus A320 was operated by a German charter airline called XL Airways, according to the Associated Press. The charter had been leasing the plane from Air New Zealand since 2006, the AP reports, and was preparing to return it to the airline next month.
In an eerie coincidence, the Airbus A320 crash is within days of the anniversary of New Zealand’s deadliest air disaster. Air New Zealand flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus on November 28, 1979. The plane disintegrated, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew members on-board.
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