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Germany-bound plane crashes, 150 dead



A Germanwings Airbus A320 plane carrying at least 142 people and 6 crew members, plus two pilots crashed Tuesday in southeastern France.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he fears those aboard the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany may be dead.

French President Francois Hollande also said no survivors were expected. The plane crashed near Digne les Bains, in the Alpes de Haute Provence region, Valls said.

“The conditions of the accident are not yet clear but lead us to believe there will be no survivors,” Hollande said.

The crash happened at about 10:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. ET) in mountainous terrain near the village Prads-Haute-Bléone, French police Capt. Benoit Zeisser said.

Because of the terrain, it will be a difficult site for rescuers to access, Zeisser said. A police helicopter is in the area, he said.

The twin-engine Airbus A320s, which entered service in 1988, is generally considered among the most reliable aircraft, aviation analyst David Soucie said.

The plane issued a distress call at 10:47 (09:47 GMT), according to sources quoted by AFP news agency.

The crash site would be nearly halfway between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. Crashes mid-flight are rare, as most happen near takeoff or landing, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said.

The “black box” flight recorder has been found, the French interior minister says. The cause of the crash is not known and the plane did not send a distress signal.

A recovery team has reached the crash site but there are fears that a looming storm could hamper its work.

Bruce Robin, a prosecutor from Marseille, told the Reuters news agency that he had seen the wreckage of the aircraft from a helicopter.

“The bodies are in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage,” he said.


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