PARIS (TheBlaze/AP) — Airline Germanwings says there were 144 passengers and six crew aboard a plane that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday, updating the total involved in the accident to 150 people
The Germanwings flight was traveling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it crashed between Digne et Barcelonnette, the French paper La Provence said. This newspaper, originally citing French civil aviation authorities for the number of people, said at least 148 were on board, but the airline later increased this number.
PARIS (@AP) - French president says there are likely 'no survivors' in Alps crash of passenger plane.— TheBlazeNOW (@TheBlazeNOW) March 24, 2015
Le Figaro, a French newspaper translated via an unofficial translation, reported that the plane crashed around 11:20 a.m. local time. The newspaper noted French interior ministry saying there was debris in the area of the reported crash.
“It’s a tragedy on our soil,” President Francois Hollande said, according to the Irish newspaper the Journal.
The airline's manager Oliver Wagner did not say whether there were any survivors and added it was not currently possible to give more information on how the accident occurred.
"I promise that we will do everything to clear up the events thoroughly," he said. "We are endlessly sorry for what has happened."
In a live broadcast, Hollande said it was probable that a number of the victims are German and noted the area of the crash was remote.
The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation is sending three people to France to join the investigation, spokesman Germout Freitag said. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the country's top security official, was also headed to the crash site.
Business Insider noted that soon after the crash, Lufthansa, the parent company of GermanWings, saw its shares drop 5.2 percent.
"We do not yet know what has happened to flight 4U 9525," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement on the airline's Twitter profile. "My deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of our passengers and crew. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors."
A rescue helicopter flies near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, as search-and-rescue teams struggle to reach the remote crash site of Germanwings passenger plane. A Germanwings passenger jet carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps as it flew from Spain's Barcelona airport to Duesseldorf in Germany, authorities said. (AP/Claude Paris)
Update: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is heading the remote mountain in the French Alps where the plane crashed, saying her thoughts are "with those people who so suddenly lost their lives, among them many compatriots." Merkel urged people not to speculate on the cause of the crash until an investigation can be conducted.
Gilbert Sauvan, a local lawmaker, said debris is spread over a 110-220-yard span. The president of the general council of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence told the AP that "everything is pulverized," with no pieces exceeding the size of a small car.
Currently, helicopters are providing visual reports while 500 firefighters and gendarmes are on the ground.
At the same time, family and friends of those on board began arriving at airports there their loved ones had just left or were expected to land.
In Barcelona, from where the plane took off Tuesday morning, police escorted people, some of them crying, through a terminal and took them to a secure part of the airport. They did not speak to the media, and one woman held a jacket over the head of a sobbing woman.
In Duesseldorf, the destination airport, family members arriving at the airport were taken from the main terminal to a nearby building. Airport employees partly covered the building with sheets to keep the relatives out of the eye of the public.
Later, Cazeneuve updated that the plane's black box was located and in the hands of the authorities. It will help deduce what caused the plane to go down.
French Civil Aviation authority Eric Herauld said that radio contact was lost at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, but the plane "never declared a distress alert itself."
This story has been updated to include more updated information.