• France's news in English
Germanwings plane crash
France ends operation to clear Alps crash debris
The wreckage of the plane that has been taken away from the slopes of the Alps. Photo: Ministry of Interior

France ends operation to clear Alps crash debris

Ben McPartland · 20 Apr 2015, 16:25

Published: 20 Apr 2015 16:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The painstaking operation to remove the wreckage of the crashed Germanwings plane from the slopes of the Alps has been brought to an end.

France's military police announced on Monday - almost four weeks after the plane crashed into the Alps near the town of Digne-les-Bains - that the daily effort to remove the debris had been wrapped up.

On the afternoon of March 24th the first images were broadcast of the shocking scene of devastation on the slopes of the French Alps where a Germanwings passenger plane had crashed just hours before.

In the words of one of the first police rescuers on the scene the plane had been "pulverized" and "there was nothing much left".

Rescuers spoke of no piece of wreckage being bigger than a car. More images released later showed the debris strewn across the steep mountain slopes.

Almost immediately specialist investigators began a harrowing mission to recover the body parts of the victims, before an operation was began to clear the debris.

Images released by France's Ministry of Interior showed the site of the crash now is almost clear of debris and is unrecognizable from the scene of devastation after the crash.

Story continues below…

All that can be seen are investigators dressed in white suits combing the ground for minute pieces of wreckage.

With all the body parts having already been removed, a team of experts have been combing the slopes to remove every piece of wreckage that is then taken away to be examined as part of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

CLICK HERE for a slide show of pictures of the site clearance

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available