PARIS–A German airliner crashed near a ski resort in the French Alps on Tuesday with all 150 people on board pronounced dead, in one of the worst ever plane disasters in the country.
“The circumstances of the accident, that are not yet clear, make us think there are not thought to be any survivors,” President Francois Hollande told reporters.
The plane was travelling from the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf when it went down in the Barcelonnette area in southeastern France.
The airliner, which was carrying 144 passengers and six crew, issued a distress call at 10:47 am (0947 GMT), civil aviation authorities said.
“The debris of a passenger plane has been found in the region of Barcelonette,” said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.
He said “major rescue efforts” had been mobilised.
The plane belonged to Germanwings, a low-cost affiliate of German airline Lufthansa based in Cologne which had no fatal accidents.
The single-aisle A320 typically seats 150 to 180 people.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve immediately headed to the scene while Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he had called an inter-ministerial crisis cell.
“We don’t know the reasons for the crash, we clearly fear that the 142-150 passengers and personnel have been killed considering the circumstances of the crash,” said Valls.
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