A Germanwings Airbus A320 carrying 144 passengers and six crew members crashed in the French Alps Tuesday while traveling from Spain to Germany. All aboard Flight 4U 9525 are presumed dead.
Flight 4U 9525's pilots issued a distress signal at 10:47 a.m. local time, about 52 minutes after takeoff, according to the New York Times. The plane rapidly dropped from an altitude of 38,000 feet to approximately 5,000 feet. French aviation authorities lost the flight's radar signal in a remote region of the French Alps, and a military helicopter later discovered the crash site outside Prads-Haute-Bleone in southern France. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
"The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, suggest there might not be any survivors," French President Francois Hollande said. He added that many of the plane's passengers were German.
"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 on 4U 9525. If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors," said Carsten Spohr, the chief executive officer of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings.
Germanwings confirmed the fatal crash and expressed condolences to victims' families in a statement Tuesday morning. "We must confirm to our deepest regret that Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf has suffered an accident over the French Alps. The flight was being operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft, and was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members," the statement said. "Lufthansa and Germanwings have established a telephone hotline. The toll-free 0800 11 33 55 77 number is available to all the families of the passengers involved for care and assistance. Everyone at Germanwings and Lufthansa is deeply shocked and saddened by these events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers and crew members."
A live stream of France24's coverage of the Germanwings Airbus A320 Flight 4U 9525 plane crash can be viewed below.