MARSEILLE, March 24 – French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet says debris from the crash of an Airbus A320 has been located and the plane crashed at 2,000 metres altitude in the Alps. Brandet told BFM television that he expected “an extremely long and extremely difficult” search and rescue operation because of the area’s remoteness. The airplane sent out a distress signal at 10.45am (local time) Tuesday, Brandet said.
He said the passenger manifest is being verified. French President Francois Hollande says no survivors are likely in the Alpine crash of a passenger jet carrying 148 people. The Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed Tuesday in the French Alps region as it travelled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, French officials said. Eric Ciotti, the head of the regional council, said search-and-rescue teams were headed to the crash site at Meolans-Revels.
In a live briefing Tuesday, Hollande said the area of the crash was remote and it was not clear whether anyone on the ground had been hurt. Hollande said it was probable that a number of the victims are German. “It’s a tragedy on our soil,” he said, adding he would be speaking shortly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The French newspaper La Provence, citing aviation officials, said the Airbus plane carried at least 142 passengers, two pilots and four flight attendants. — AP