A German plane with 142 passengers and six crew members on board, which was travelling to Düsseldorf from Barcelona, crashed in southern France.
The aircraft was an Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings, a budget of German company Lufthansa. The wreckage was located by a French military helicopter just near the town of Prads-Haute-Bléone.
According to Eric Héraud, a spokesman in Paris for the aviation authority, the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile, the pilots of the aircraft declared an emergency situation at 10:47 a.m. After that, the plane lost altitude rapidly, descending to around 5,000 feet from a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. The plane flew over the town of Barcelonnette in the Alpes de Haute-Provence region
French President François Hollande announced that many of the victims were German. “The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, suggest that there might not be any survivors,” he added.
According to a local official, the debris of the crash was spread over five acres. President Hollande announced he was scheduled to talk to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish leaders as most of the victims were likely from those countries.
The A320 is the most common aircraft of the Airbus flee. Almost 6.000 of these single-aisle jets are in service with hundreds of airlines in the entire world. More than one billion passengers flew on a jet from the A320 series only last year. According to Ascend, a aviation consultancy company, the A320 has a smaller version, the A319, while the A321 is a stretched version of the same airplane.
The A320 is in service since 1988. According to Ascend, the aircraft has been involved in 12 fatal accidents in these years.
“We are aware of the media reports and all efforts are now going towards assessing the situation. “We will provide further information as soon as available,” Airbus said in a statement.
Germanwings is a company based in Cologne. The airline was founded in 2002 and seven years later was acquired by Lufthansa. It is the main operator for domestic and short European flights for Germany’s main aerial company. Germanwings operates flights from cities outside its main hubs in Munich and Frankfurt. The company has a fleet of approximately 80 planes, most of them being Airbus A320s and A319s.
Image Source: Airplane Pictures