Germanwings crash: Search operations resume

Paris/Berlin: The search operations for an Airbus A320 of a German budget airline with 150 people on board which crashed on Tuesday in southern France while flying from Spain's Barcelona to Germany's Dusseldorf, resumed on Wednesday.

A plane operated by Germanwings, the budget carrier of Germany's Lufthansa airlines crashed in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the southern French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board -- 144 passengers and six crew members.

French investigators will comb through the wreckage of Germanwings flight 4U9525 to recover remains and attempt to locate the aircraft's second black box, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Recovery crews suspended their operations late Tuesday night in the remote Alpine region conditions became too difficult.


A screen grab taken from an AFP TV video on shows debris of the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the crash site in the French Alps above the southeastern town of Seyne. The plane, which had taken off from Barcelona in Spain and was headed for Dusseldorf in Germany, crashed with 150 people onboard. Pic/ AFP

"The weather report is saying they are expecting snow in the early morning and that of course will keep the helicopters on the ground if it is too heavy," a Deutsche Welle official said.

"The place where the crash happened is about a two hour hike on foot."

Civil aviation investigators from France's Bureau d'Enquetes are scheduled to hold a news conference on the crash Wednesday afternoon.

The aircraft's cockpit voice recorder was recovered at the crash site on Tuesday and Lufthansa is working on the assumption that the crash was an accident, The Local quoted a senior airline official as saying.

"For the time being, we say it's an accident, anything else would be speculation," Lufthansa vice president for sales and services in Europe, Heike Birlenbach, said at the Barcelona airport from where the plane took off.

Birlenbach said the Airbus A320 has passed its last routine check on Monday and could not explain why it took off 20 minutes late.

"Only if those checks are ok, aircrafts are allowed to fly," Birlenbach added.

French MP Christophe Castaner, who flew over the crash site, tweeted: "Horrendous images in this mountain scenery."

"Nothing is left but debris and bodies. Flying over the crash site with the interior minister -- a horror -- the plane is totally destroyed."

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said tthat here were no survivors, adding that the authorities "can't rule out any theory" on the cause of the disaster.

According to a BBC report, 67 of those aboard the plane were German citizens including 16 school children from one high school -- Joseph Koenig Gymnasium on their way back from an exchange trip as well as two opera singers, Maria Radner and Oleg Bryjak.

Radner was travelling with her husband and baby.

Forty-five of the passengers had Spanish names, Spain's deputy prime minister said.

The flight was also carrying citizens of Australia, Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Sandrine Boisse, a tourism official from the ski resort of Pra Loup, told the BBC that she believed she had heard a strange noise in the mountains.

"At first we thought it was on the ski slopes, an avalanche, but it wasn't the same noise," she said.

Media reports indicated that the A320 jetliner was one of the oldest in Germanwings' fleet and had served for over 24 years. It had flown to Barcelona from Duesseldorf earlier on Tuesday before meeting with the accident on the return flight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel along with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and French President Francois Hollande will visit the crash site later in the day.

Germanwings and Lufthansa have set up a free hotline with number 0800-11335577 for families of passengers involved for care and assistance.

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