An Airbus A320 passenger aircraft has reportedly crashed in the southern French Alps with all 150 people on board feared dead.
According to official reports, the plane was traveling between the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona and the German city of Dusseldorf when it came down between Barcelonnette and Digne in southern France on Tuesday.
Germanwings, an affiliate of German airline Lufthansa based in Cologne, owned the aircraft, the reports added.
A few hours after the incident, the head of low-budget airline, Germanwings, said there were 144 passengers and six crew on the aircraft.
French aviation authorities had announced earlier in the day that there were 142 passengers and six flight personnel on board.
“In light of the information available at the present time we cannot say whether there are survivors or how many there might be,” Germanwings chief executive, Oliver Wagner, said in a brief statement on German television.
Sources said the ill-fated aircraft had issued a distress call at 10:47 a.m. local time (0947 GMT).
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande said there are likely no survivors in the Airbus crash.
His remarks were echoed by the French Minister of State for Transport Alain Vidalies, who said, “there are no survivors” from the Germanwings plane.
“A distress call was registered at 10:47. The distress signal showed the plane was at 5,000 feet in an abnormal situation,” the minister added.
According to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the debris from the plane had already been found near a village.
Merkel shocked by plane crash
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman she is “shocked” about the crash of a German airliner in the French Alps.
According to Steffen Seibert, the German leader has spoken to French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on the phone.
She has also “cancelled her appointments to follow developments,” Seibert added in a statement.
‘Plane crash a tragedy’
Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Tuesday that he was “shocked” by the crash of a Germanwings Airbus plane, which had departed from Barcelona in Spain.
“Shocked by the air accident in the Alps; a tragedy. We are cooperating with the French and German authorities in the investigation,” he said in a Twitter message after French officials said nobody survived the accident.
Following the crash, Airbus’s stock lost 1.77 percent of its value and slumped to 58.94 euros at 1100 GMT.
Multiple nationalities on board the plane: Hollande
According to French President Francois Hollande, 150 people killed in Tuesday’s crash included Germans, Spaniards and “probably” Turks.
Hollande said he could not say with “total certainty” that no French nationals were aboard the Germanwings flight.