Germanwings plane crash: Recovery operation resumes

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According to BBC, a search and recovery operation has resumed in the southern French Alps after Tuesday’s crash of a Germanwings plane with 150 people on board.

Officials warn the operation could last for days in a remote mountain ravine between Digne and Barcelonnette.

The leaders of Germany, France and Spain are due to visit the crash site.

The Airbus A320 – flight 4U 9525 – from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed after an eight-minute rapid descent, officials say. There were no survivors.

Officials believe 67 of the 144 passengers were German citizens, including 16 pupils returning from an exchange trip.

A day of mourning was being held at the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium school in Haltern-am-See, north-west Germany, where the pupils were from.

More than 40 passengers were believed to be Spanish and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed. that three Britons were on board. The flight was also carrying citizens of Australia, Japan, Colombia, Turkey, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The plane’s cockpit voice recorder – recovered by a helicopter team on Tuesday – was damaged but could still provide information, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said if voices had been recorded the investigation would proceed “fairly quickly”.

Investigators are still searching for the second “black box” – the flight data recorder.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy are expected to visit the crash scene later.

Mr Rajoy has declared three days of national mourning in Spain.

Bereaved relatives are also expected to visit the scene on Wednesday. The mayor of Seyne-les-Alpes, the town nearest the crash site, said local families were offering to host them.

Footage shot from a helicopter on Tuesday showed plane parts scattered on the rocky mountainside.

“The site is a picture of horror,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after being flown over the ravine.

“Everything is pulverised. The largest pieces of debris are the size of a small car,” Gilbert Sauvan, president of the general council Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, told the Associate Press.

Germanwings, a low-cost airline owned by Germany’s main carrier Lufthansa, said some crew members were unfit for service on Wednesday “due to emotional distress”.

It said one flight was being cancelled but remaining flights would be according to schedule.

Lufthansa and Germanwings staff held a minute’s silence on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the first Germanwings flight on the same route as the crashed plane took off from Barcelona on Wednesday morning but the flight number had been changed to 4U 9441.

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