France ends operation to clear Alps crash debris

The operation to clear the wreckage of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the Alps has officially ended, French military police said on Monday. Images show the crash site, once strewn with debris, now clear of the plane's wreckage.

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

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.

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

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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.