UPDATE: Planes crashes in French Alps with 150 aboard - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Planes crashes in French Alps with 150 aboard

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An Airbus A320 Germanwings plane. AP photo An Airbus A320 Germanwings plane. AP photo


(NBC News) - UPDATE: A passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday en route from Spain to Germany, officials said, warning that there are not expected to be any survivors.

French President Francois Hollande called the crash of the Airbus A320 a "tragedy" and said the wreckage was in a hard-to-reach area.

"The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to believe there are no survivors," he said.

Flight 4U5925, operated by Lufthansa's budget brand Germanwings, was traveling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. It left Barcelona at 9:55 a.m., sent out a distress signal at 10:45 a.m., then crashed at an altitude of about 2,000 meters (6,550 feet), French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said, according to The Associated Press.

Germanwings said 144 passengers and 6 crew members were on board and that it did not yet have information on what caused the accident.

Weather conditions in the local area were good when the plane went down just before noon local time, and data from tracking website Flightradar24 suggested that the 24-year-old aircraft was cruising at 38,000 feet when it began a rapid descent.

France's Interior Ministry said "important aerial resources" and medical teams were being mobilized in the area of the wreckage. Investigators were heading for Meolans-Revel, a remote and sparsely inhabited commune in the foothills of the French Alps, Reuters reported. Officials in the nearby town of Digne urged people not to approach the crash zone.

Germanwings is a no-frills short-haul European carrier owned by German flag-carrier, Lufthansa. Lufthansa said that it hopes survivors will be found but that "if our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. Airbus said it was aware of the accident and that that "all efforts are now going towards assessing the situation."

Spain's king and queen, who were in Paris at the time of the crash, cut short their visit to France. King Felipe told reporters that the victims included many Spaniards, Germans and a group of Turkish nationals.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressed "compassion and solidarity" with the victims, saying on Twitter that the accident has "plunged" his nation into "deep sadness."

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said all support will be given to families of those affected and that he was heading back to Madrid to chair an emergency session. AENA, which operates Barcelona's El Prat Airport, said a crisis room for families has been set up.

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