Germany's top security official ruled out foul play in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, stating that there was no evidence to support the theory at this stage, the Associated Press reported. The Airbus A320 was travelling from Barcelona to Düsseldorf and crashed less than an hour before landing, killing all 150 people on board.
"According to the latest information there is no hard evidence that the crash was intentionally brought about by third parties," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, AP reported.
The AP report also stated, citing France's air force, that a Mirage fighter jet was sent to the area when the Airbus A320 lost radar contact, but arrived after the plane crashed. However, the Mirage 2000 did not find the site of the crash.
Brice Robin, prosecutor for the city of Marseille, said the investigation into the crash would take weeks.
“The priority on the ground is to identify the bodies,” he told reporters, according to the Guardian. “We owe that to the families of the victims. But it will not be done in five minutes. It is going to take a number of weeks and I think everyone should be aware that we are talking about a long time.”
He also said that “at the moment" the reasons for the crash "are completely undecided," adding that an update on the examination of the cockpit voice recorder, which was found Tuesday could be released by Wednesday afternoon.
French transport minister, Alain Vidalies, reportedly said that if voices on the recorder were recorded properly, then the probe would proceed “fairly quickly.”
“After that, if we have to analyze the sounds, that’s a job that will take several weeks, but it’s a job that can offer us some explanations,” Vidalies told French radio, adding that the flight data recorder is yet to be found.
Meanwhile, the German low-cost airline, which is fully owned by Lufthansa, reportedly released provisional details of the nationalities of some of the passengers aboard the plane. The list so far looks like this -- Germany: 72, Spain: 35, UK: 1, Netherlands: 1, Colombia: 1, Mexico: 1, Japan: 1, Denmark: 1, Israel: 1, Australia: 2, Argentina: 2, Iran: 2, Venezuela: 2, USA: 2. However, the nationalities of others on board is yet to be confirmed as they may have had dual citizenships, the airline's CEO reportedly said.
At least three British nationals were on board Flight 9525, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Wednesday. One of the British nationals has been identified as Martyn Matthews, a 50-year-old father of two from Wolverhampton, the Telegraph reported, adding that a mother from Manchester and her son were also on board the Airbus A320. Matthews was reportedly in Barcelona for business and was traveling to Germany for a meeting.
"We currently believe that three British people have been killed in this tragedy but we can't rule out the possibility there are further British people involved," Hammond reportedly told the media. "The level of information on the flight manifest doesn't allow us to rule out that possibility."
According to reports, the Israeli government confirmed that one of its nationals was on board the plane. And, of the German nationals on board the plane, there were 16 students and two teachers from the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium high school in Haltern. The group was reportedly returning from a school trip to Spain.
“Our sympathy goes out to the parents who have lost their beloved sons and daughters ... This is a tragedy that makes you speechless ... we have to accept the grieving," Ulrich Wessel, the head teacher of the school, said, according to the Guardian. Authorities also claimed that 45 of the victims had Spanish surnames, though some may not be Spanish citizens.