- A Germanwings A320 crashed in the southern French Alps
- The plane had 150 people on board, all feared to be dead
- 45 Spaniards, 67 Germans reported to be on board
- 16 German school pupils and two babies on board
- Jet plunged for eight minutes before crashing
- Germanwings crash: What we know so far
- IN PICTURES: Germanwings plane crashes in French Alps
- Tearful relatives of crash victims gather at airport
15:30 - 16 German pupils on board
15:22 - Pictures of emergency crews on the scene have emerged
(Helicopters from the French Air Force and civil security services on the scene. Photo: AFP)
Rescue workers gather in Seyne, south-eastern France, near the site where a Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed. pic.twitter.com/e0qFNMS8PW— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) March 24, 2015
15:13 - 67 Germans on board
Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of Germanwings said at the press conference that 67 Germans are believed to have been on board.
"Most important is our deep sorrow for our passengers, their relatives, as well as the crew's friends and relatives, since they have lost their dear loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims," he added.
He said the 24-year-old plane was checked as recently as Monday, and that "there was absolutely no issue with the age of the airplane."
15:07 - Germanwings press conference
There is currently a press conference underway by Germanwings.
Some information on the plane and pilot:
Last check up on plane was in summer 2013. The pilot had ten years experience and had flown a total of 6,000 hours.
A team is on its way to the crash site to investigate the cause of the disaster.
14:58 - More on the distress signal confusion
The crew of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday did not send a distress signal, civil aviation authorities told AFP.
"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," the source said.
14:57 - Emergency crews prepare for victims
There are still mixed reports over whether the airline sent a distress signal or not. Earlier reports said one was sent at around 10:47, but AFP have just sent out a new report, quoting an aviation official, who has said no distress signal was sent.
According to reports on BFM TV the debris of the place is spread over an area around the two kilometre squared at an altitude of 2,700 metres.
Part of the aircraft is said to have come down in the village of Barcelonnette.
14:34 - Emergency teams heading up to the crash site
Here's some images from @ActuSecours that show various emergency teams preparing to head off to the site by helicopter.
14:33 - Germanwings sets up emergency number
French transport Minister Alain Vidalies said:“It is an area that is snow-capped, inaccessible by vehicles, but which could be flown over by helicopters.”
Condiciones meteorológicas adversas en proximidades accidente A320 en Digne, Francia pic.twitter.com/lNAgrlrnEo— AereoMeteo (@AereoMeteo) March 24, 2015
14:11 - Emergency crews on the scene as families mourn
Eyewitness report from a resident in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site.
“This morning I heard a huge thud and then I saw several fighter jets fly over the village,” the resident told Le Parisien newspaper. “The initial sound I heard was like an avalanche or like the sound of dynamite that they blow up to cause an avalanche.”
“Then around noon I looked out the window and I saw a column of smoke rising into the air. From the centre of the village to the crash site must be around 3km. But we are in the mountains and there’s a lot of snow.
“At the moment there are helicopters flying over overhead.”
"In light of the information available at the present time we cannot say whether there are survivors or how many there might be," Germanwings chief executive, Oliver Wagner, said in a brief statement on German television.
13:54 - "Emergency, emergency"
The last reported contact with the pilots is reported to be the word "emergency, emergency", French media reported.
13:50 - Remote crash site
Hollande says emergency search and rescue teams are doing everything they can to access the site, which is in a remote area of the French Alps in the Massif de Trois Evéchés. The photo below gives some idea of what emergency teams face.
13:49 - View from a press helicopter
13:35 - King Felipe cancels state visit
The Spanish King, Felipe VI, who is in Paris on his first state visit abroad has cancelled the rest of the trip in the wake of the plane crash.
(Spanish King Felipe and his wife Queen Letizia. Photo: AFP)
13:44 - Number of dead updated
Airline Germanwings have now upped the death toll from 148 to 150. The airline says 144 passengers were on board and six crew. French president François Hollande says he believes most of the passengers were German, Spanish and Turkish. Spanish authorities have already confirmed that there were 45 Spaniards on board.
13:29 - Worst aviation disaster in France since 1981
The crash of the Germanwings Airbus flight is one of the worst aviation disaster in France in the last 40 years, dating back to the crash of a Turkish airlines flight in the Oise region near Paris in 1974, that killed all 346 people on board.
In 1981, all 180 people on board a passenger plane were killed when the aircraft crashed into mountains on the island of Corsica.
The last major plane crash in France was the Concorde crash at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in July 2000, that killed 109 passengers and crew
13:26 - Crash site inaccessible to road vehicles
French transport minister has said that the crash site is not accessible to road vehicles, which means emergency crews and air investigators can only reach the site by helicopter.
13:25 - Here's a video of French President François Hollande speaking to the press earlier.
Story continues below…
Consternado por el accidente aéreo en Los Alpes. Una tragedia. Trabajamos con las autoridades francesas y alemanas en la investigación. MR— Mariano Rajoy Brey (@marianorajoy) March 24, 2015
Moncloa has just confirmed: 45 Spanish passengers were on crashed #germanwings airline— The Local Spain (@TheLocalSpain) March 24, 2015
"There are no survivors" from the Germanwings plane that crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday carrying 148 people from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, said the French transport minister.
"A distress call was registered at 10:47. The distress signal showed the plane was at 5,000 feet in an abnormal situation," said Alain Vidalies, minister of state for transport, adding that the crash happened shortly after the distress signal.
12:41 – Was a distress signal issued?
Some reports in the French media say the Germanwings plane did not issue a distress signal before disappearing from radar, but other reports have said a “very brief distress signal was issued”.
Speculation will no doubt continue that the plane may have been brought down by a terrorist attack, although it’s clearly far too early to know what exactly happened.
12:42 - Comment from Lufthansa CEO
"We do not yet know what has happened to flight 4U 9525. My deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of our passengers and crew 1/2— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) March 24, 2015
"...on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.“ Carsten Spohr 2/2— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) March 24, 2015
Shares in Airbus, the European aerospace giant, slumped on news of the accident, down 1.77 percent to 58.94 euros at 1100 GMT after briefly sliding two percent.
President François Hollande says "It is a new aviation tragedy, a grief that we have to experience. The first support we offer is solidarity".
12:12 - 'No survivors expected'
French president François Hollande has said that authorities do not expect their to be any survivors from the Germanwings plane crash. There were 148 people on board in total, with 142 passengers and six crew.
The French PM has confirmed that the wreckage has been found and emergency crews and firefighters are on their way to the scene.
12:07: Germanwings tweets out
12:02 - Emergency crews are on their way to the crash site, reports says, including firefighters and emergency first aid teams.
11:58 - The flight had 142 passengers, 2 pilots, and 4 stewards.
Germanwings, the airline, is advising people to go to its website, www.germanwings.com, for updates but the site is loading very slowly.
11:56 - According to French media two helicopters from France's aviation police (DGAC) located the wreckage of the plane near Prads-Haute-Bléone, between Digne-les-Bains and Barcelonnette.
11:52 - Reports about the number of people who were on board the flight are varying. French newspaper Le Parisien reported that 142 people were on board the plane, whereas other sources are quoting 152 people in all.
11:50 - Here's the latest from AFP:
An Airbus A320 plane crashed on Tuesday in the southern French Alps, security sources said.
One of the sources said the plane belonged to Germanwings, an affiliate of German airline Lufthansa, travelling between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. The single-aisle A320 typically seats 150 to 180 people.
We get reports about an Germanwings A320 crash. Flight 4U9525 was lost from Flightradar24 at 6800 feet near Digne in southern France.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 24, 2015
11:48 - The flight, number GWI9525, took off at 10.01am from Barcelona and was due to land in Düsseldorf at 11.49am.
11:45 - According to reports a Germanwings plane has crashed near the town of Dignes in the southern French Alps. Reports say the plane which was heading from Barcelona in Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany crashed around 11am.