It was this Germanwings Airbus A320, filmed by an amateur last week, that crashed in the south of France on 24th March with 150 people on board, crashed in the south of France. The fuselage was quickly spotted in the Trois Evêchés mountain range, 150 kilometres (50 miles) north-east of Marseille.
As shown on Flightradar24’s website, that tracks aircraft movements in real time, the aircraft took off shortly after 10 a.m. from Barcelona (Spain) in the direction of Düsseldorf (Germany), where it was to have landed two hours later ; but at 10:30 a.m., radio contact was broken, and the aircraft, which was at more than 11,000 metres (36,000 ft.) altitude, began for some, as yet, unknown reason, a descent of about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft.) / minute, finally disappearing from radar screens at 10:40 a.m..
According to the French Civil Aviation Authority, the crew of flight 4U 9525 did not send out a distress call. The Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings A320, which was delivered to the German national company, on 5th February 1991, had been in service for 24 years, and, according to Airbus, had over 58,000 flight hours.
The 144 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots on board, included 45 Spanish and 67 German nationals. There are no survivors.
The location of the crash is inaccessible by car, and emergency rescue teams have been sent to the area by helicopter. A total of 400 people have been mobilized.
It is still too early to be able to determine the causes of the accident, but weather conditions were good. Much of the wreckage has been located in the same area; an inflight explosion therefore seems to have been ruled out, indicating that the Airbus broke up on impact with the ground.
A safety investigation has been opened by the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), who will be sending a team to the site.
This is the worst air crash on French soil since 2000, the year of the Air France Concorde crash at Gonesse, near Paris, causing 113 deaths.
For the relatives and families of the victims, Germanwings has placed the following telephone number at their disposition : +1 407 362 0632 .