The accident crash site is within the Massif des Trois-Évêchés(fr) and is also close to Cimet(fr), where Air France Flight 178 crashed in 1953.
Flight 9525 took off from Runway 07R at Barcelona–El Prat Airport at around 10:01 CET (09:01 UTC) and was due to arrive in Düsseldorf Airport by 11:39 CET (10:39 UTC).
The French aviation authority DGAC declared the plane in distress after the aircraft's descent and loss of radio contact. The aircraft reached its cruise altitude, flight level 380 (approx. 38,000 ft [12,000 m]), three minutes prior to the start of what seems to have been a controlled descent. It crashed between Barcelonnette and Prads-Haute-Bléone, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in the commune of Meolans-Revel.[clarification needed] Radar contact was lost at 10:53; at the time, the aircraft was flying at an altitude of about 6,000 ft (1,800 m).
Police and Sécurité Civile sent helicopters to locate the wreckage. A picture from the accident site was released, with the report that the aircraft had "disintegrated", the largest piece of wreckage being "the size of a car". According to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, a helicopter which landed near the site of the crash confirmed that there were no survivors.
The aircraft involved was an Airbus A320-200, serial number 147, registered as D-AIPX. Its first flight was on 29 November 1990 and it was delivered to Lufthansa on 5 February 1991. It served with Germanwings for the first time in 2003. It was returned to Lufthansa in 2004 and was re-transferred to the relaunched Germanwings on 31 January 2014.
Passengers and crew
People on board by nationality
It was initially reported that most of the passengers were German, but the Spanish government later reported that there were 45 Spanish and possibly some Turkish citizens on board. Germanwings stated that 67 German citizens may have been on the plane, including 16 students and two teachers from the Joseph-König-Gymnasium(de), Haltern, on the way home from a student exchange with the Giola Institute in Llinars del Vallès.
Initial reports stated there were 146 people on board, but later reports have indicated there were 144 passengers and six crew members, including Turkish, Belgian, German, Dutch and Spanish nationals. A Germanwings representative announced that the captain had 10 years of flying experience (6000 flight hours) with Germanwings and Lufthansa.
French President François Hollande issued a statement saying: "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors." He called the crash a tragedy and called for solidarity, he also spoke with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he had dispatched the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to the scene and set-up a ministerial crisis cell to co-ordinate the incident.
King Felipe VI of Spain, who was flying to Paris for a state visit to France at the time of the crash, announced his decision to cut it short and return to Spain. "Following conversations with President Hollande and Mariano Rajoy we have taken the decision to postpone our official visit to France and try and carry it out in the future," he said.
German Chancellor Merkel announced that she would travel to the crash site on Wednesday. She said the incident had plunged Germany, France and Spain into "deep mourning".
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr announced plans to visit the site of the crash, and called the day of the accident a "dark day for Lufthansa".
The French Aviation Authority has set temporary flight restrictions in the area surrounding the crash site.
The Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA) has opened an investigation into the accident, joined by their counterparts from the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation (BFU). On 24 March, the BEA sent seven investigators to the accident site, accompanied by representatives from Airbus and CFM International.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that one of the black boxes was found by rescue workers.
Accidents and incidents involving the Airbus A320 family
Air France Flight 178
Air Inter Flight 148
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Jump up ^ "Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashes in French Alps with 150 on board - live updates". The Guardian. 'The aircraft did not itself make a distress call but it was the combination of the loss of radio contact and the aircraft’s descent which led the controller to implement the distress phase,' a spokesman for the DGAC authority said.
Jump up ^ "Airbus crash latest coverage". BBC News. Contrary to previous reports, the crew did not send a distress signal, according to AFP. Civil aviation authorities told the agency: 'The crew did not send a Mayday. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane was in distress because there was no contact with the crew of the plane.'
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Jump up ^ "Image what shows temporary flight restiction area, accident location and flightpath from flightradar24.".
Jump up ^ "Accident d'un Airbus A 320-211 immatriculé D-AIPX, vol GWI18G, survenu le 24 mars 2015 -- INFORMATION DU 24 MARS 2015" (in French). Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Germanwings Flight 9525.
(German) "Germanwings-A320-Absturz in Südfrankreich" - Der Spiegel