Germanwings Plane 4U 9525 Crashes in the French Alps As Questions Abound

Germanwings plane 4U 9525 crashes in the French Alps as questions abound. Investigators locate black box on the crash site.

All the 150 passengers and crew on board the Germanwings flight 4U9525 are believed to have perished after it rapidly lost height and began a sharp fall into a mountainous region in the south of France. The plane, which was on its way to Düsseldorf from Barcelona, had reached a height 38,000ft at 10.45 in the morning, 44 minutes after it began the journey.

French Investigators are currently trying to solve the mystery of why it began a descent about two minutes later. Spanish, British and German nationals are believed to be among the dead. It is also feared that a group of 16 German students may have boarded the flight on a return from an exchange program from Spain, though school officials are yet to make any confirmation.

The German chancellor Angel Merkel is to visit the crash site on Wednesday, even as she said that the three countries of Germany, France and Spain had been plunged into “deep mourning” by the tragedy.

Investigators have already retrieved the black box cockpit voice recorder and they hope it would provide some clues as to why the Germanwings Airbus A-320 rapidly lost altitude, and why the pilot never changed course to avoid crashing into a rocky, steep-sided valley at 700kmh. David Learmount, who works with Flightglobal noted that the accident was confounding because German-operated Airbuses rarely “crash in the cruise”.

The crash was so severe that one French official said the plane was “pulverized”. Jean-Louis Bietrix, a mountain guide who had accompanied the emergency response said that virtually nothing was left of the plane.

“There is debris, but the pieces of the wreckage as so small you’ll have to look closely to see things. It’s like the aircraft has totally vanished,” he said.

The fallen A320 was 24 years old and it had just come from a routine checkup by the technical teams a week ago. A thorough and more detailed examination had been done in summer 2013.

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