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Plane crashes in the French Alps with 150 people on board: what we know

Rescue teams arrive near the crash site in the French Alps.
Rescue teams arrive near the crash site in the French Alps.
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images)
  1. An Airbus A320 airliner crashed in the French Alps with 150 people on board on Tuesday morning.
  2. French President François Hollande told reporters, "There are not thought to be any survivors."
  3. The plane was operated by German discount airline Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa.
  4. Flight 4U 9525 was on its way from the Spanish city of Barcelona to Dusseldorf in Germany when it crashed in the Barcelonette area of the Alps.

The crash site is in a mountainous area that is difficult to access, but at least one helicopter has reached the scene of the disaster and the plane's black box has been recovered, the BBC reported.

The cause of the crash is still unknown. Germanwings has reportedly stated that the plane's crew did not issue a distress call and that it nosedived for eight minutes. The pilot had 10 years' experience, with 6,000 hours of flying time.

The weather was calm at the time of the crash, and the White House has said there is no sign that the plane crashed as the result of a terrorist attack.

Germanwings has a strong safety record with no previous history of accidents. The plane that crashed was 24 years old; the airline said it had undergone a safety check in 2013.

The A320 is a popular model used by airlines around the world for short-haul and medium-haul flights.

The body of the plane is believed to have been totally destroyed, with officials saying no one could have survived the impact. The victims are thought to have been mostly German and Spanish; they include a group of 16 German children who were returning home after a school trip.