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ALPS PLANE CRASH

PLANE CRASH

Alps crash: Second black box deemed ‘usable’

French prosecutors have said that the second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week is in a "usable condition".

Alps crash: Second black box deemed 'usable'
Rescue teams at the scene of the crash sift through the rubble. Photo: AFP

French prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters on Thursday that the condition of the second box "gives us reasonable hope that it can be used."

The second black box measures data such as speed, altitude and pilot action and will be an "indispensable" element in the investigation, Robin said.

All 150 people on board Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf were killed when it crashed into the Alps last week in the bloodiest such disaster on French soil in decades.

Robin said 150 DNA strands had been isolated but stressed this did not necessarily mean all the victims had been identified.

Identifying the remains of everyone on board would take "three to five weeks," he said.

The first black box voice recorder, which was found soon after the crash last week, suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately locked the plane on a collision course with the mountains.

Investigators have already solved a great deal of the mystery of Flight 4U9525 thanks to these recordings, which revealed that the 27-year-old co-pilot was alone at the time of the crash.

He apparently took advantage of the captain's brief absence to lock him out and set the plane on a deadly descent into the Alps.

The plane smashed into the mountains at a speed of 700 kilometres an hour, instantly killing all passengers and crew on board — half of them German and more than 50 from Spain.

According to prosecutors, the voice recorder suggested that the passengers were unaware of what was going to happen to them until the very last seconds, when screams were heard.

Rescue workers have since been sifting through the wreckage for days trying to identify body parts and victims via their DNA.

The search for evidence has been hampered by the extremely difficult mountain terrain as well as the force of the crash.

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PLANE CRASH

Father and twin daughters die in light plane crash in France

A father and his twin teenage daughters died on Monday when their light aircraft crashed in central France in as yet unexplained circumstances, the rescue services said.

Father and twin daughters die in light plane crash in France
Mountain range in France's Puy-de-Dome department. Photo: Alpha du centaure/Flickr

“The accident occurred at 12:30 pm (1030 GMT). The plane crashed and broke up without catching fire,” the rescue services said, confirming a report in the local La Montagne newspaper.

The circumstances of the accident, which involved a single-engine two-seater aircraft, were not yet clear.

“The weather conditions were actually quite good at the time of the accident,” the rescue services said.

The crash occurred in a mountainous area in the Mazoires commune of the Puy-de-Dome department.

The father, who was said to be aged “about 40” and his 14-year-old twin daughters were from the Paris region.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash.

There has already been a number of accidents involving light aircraft in France this summer, including one in the Ardennes on July 28 in which the pilot and one of three passengers were killed.

Two people were also killed on July 17 when their aircraft crashed in Corsica and two others will killed in accident in Les Mureaux, northwest of Paris.  

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