After Airbus A320 crashes in French Alps, Germanwings forced to cancel 7 flights

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Updated: March 26, 2015 10:38:39 AM

Germanwings has had to cancel seven flights out of Dusseldorf because a number of crew members felt they were unfit to fly following news of the accident.

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Germanwings has had to cancel seven flights out of Dusseldorf because a number of crew members felt they were unfit to fly following news of the accident.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Tuesday evening that he understood the crew members’ sentiments.

”One must not forget: many of our Germanwings crews have known crew members who were onboard the crashed plane,” Spohr said.

”It is now more important to ensure psychological assistance if needed. And we will get back to a full flight operation as soon as possible then. But for me, this is rather secondary now,” he added.

 

11:10 p.m. (2210 GMT,6:10 p.m. EDT)

Hundreds of students, parents and townspeople from a small Spanish town have gathered at a weekly mass to mourn a group of German exchange students who died in the plane crash over the French Alps after visiting the town.

The mass at a local church turned into an unofficial outpouring of grief for the students and their two teachers who were among the 150 people who died in the crash Tuesday.

Andrea Perez Martinez, 20, who had participated in the exchange with the German school in Haltern four years ago came to mourn the loss of one of the two teachers, whom she identified as Claudia.

”This really hurts because the teacher, one of the two that died, was with us on the trips we took and everything when we went there,” Perez Martinez said.

The Spanish school that hosted the German students, Institut Giola, said in a statement: ”We extend our condolences to the victims of this tragic accident as well as the educational community of the Joseph-Konig-Gymnasium” in Germany.

9:00 p.m. (2000 GMT, 4:00 p.m. EDT)

French authorities have called off the search of the crash site in the French Alps of a Germanwings airplane with 150 people aboard, after night fell on the hard-to-reach area.

Lt. Col. Simon-Pierre Delannoy of the regional police rescue service said on BFM television that the conditions for the search had become too difficult.

Helicopters stopped flying over the area at nightfall.

The complex search operation was expected to resume Wednesday morning.

The Airbus A320 was traveling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf when it crashed Tuesday on a mountainside near Meolans-Revels and the popular Pra Loup ski resort.

7:05 p.m. (1805 GMT, 2:05 p.m EDT)

A Lufthansa vice president says the company is treating the crash of a Germanwings jet in France that carried 150 people as an accident for ”the time being.”

Heike Birlenbach told reporters in Barcelona that for now ”we say it is an accident. There is nothing more we can say right now.”

She also said that the plane, bound for Duesseldorf in Germany, took off from Barcelona 30 minutes late Tuesday but did not know what caused the delay.

The Airbus A320 was inspected by Lufthansa’s technical team on Monday.

Germanwings is a low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa.

4:40 p.m. (1540 GMT, 11:40 a.m. EDT)

A German official says a high school group returning from an exchange in Spain was on board the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people onboard.

The school they had visited, about 45 minutes from Barcelona, told The Associated Press that 16 students from the town of Haltern in Germany had been on a weeklong exchange that ended Tuesday.

North Rhine-Westphalia state Education Minister Sylvia Loerhmann said Tuesday that ”we know that the school group boarded the plane,” the dpa news agency reported.

Local police said they are still waiting on official confirmation the students had been killed, but have already sent staff to the school to assist students and teachers. The school refused to comment.

3:50 p.m. (1450 GMT, 10:50 a.m. EDT)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says a helicopter has managed to land near where a passenger plane carrying 150 people crashed in the Alps, and has found there were no survivors.

The weather in the area deteriorated Tuesday afternoon, with a chilly rain falling.

Gilbert Sauvan, of the local council, told Les Echos newspaper, ”The plane is disintegrated.”

”The largest debris is the size of a car,” he added.

The Germanwings Airbus 320 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, Germany, came down in the mountains on Tuesday morning after an eight-minute descent from its cruising height. Officials said they are still establishing whether there was a distress call.

3:20 p.m. (1420 GMT, 10:20 a.m. EDT)

The boss of airline Germanwings says the plane went into a long descent before it crashed into the French Alps, likely killing all 150 people on board.

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said the plane began descending again shortly after it reached its cruising height following takeoff from Barcelona Airport. The descent lasted eight minutes, he told reporters in Cologne. Radar and air traffic control contact broke off at 10:53 a.m.

He said the pilot had more than 10 years’ experience working for Germanwings and its parent airline Lufthansa. Airbus said the A320 was delivered to Lufthansa in 1991.

Germanwings said the passenger manifest included two babies. Officials believe there were 67 German nationals on board.

2:50 p.m. (1350 GMT, 9:50 a.m. EDT)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will head to the remote mountain in the French Alps where a Germanwings passenger plane crashed with 150 people aboard.

She says her thoughts are ”with those people who so suddenly lost their lives, among them many compatriots.”

Merkel says she will travel to the region on Wednesday, a day after her foreign and transport ministers were heading to the crash site.

She is urging people not to speculate on the cause of the crash until an investigation can be conducted.

No survivors are expected in the crash of the plane, which was traveling Tuesday morning from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany.

1:40 p.m. (1240 GMT, 8:40 a.m. EDT)

Airline Germanwings says there were 144 passengers and six crew aboard a plane that crashed in the French Alps.

Manager Oliver Wagner did not say whether there were any survivors and added it was not currently possible to give more information on how the crash occurred. ”I promise that we will do everything to clear up the events thoroughly,” he said. ”We are endlessly sorry for what has happened.”

Other officials have given slightly differing figures for the number on board.

The Airbus 320 crashed Tuesday morning during a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, Germany. French President Francois Hollande has said no survivors are expected.

The Germanwings logo, normally maroon and yellow, was blacked out on its Twitter feed.

1 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8 a.m. EDT)

French President Francois Hollande has spoken briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express solidarity following the crash of a Germanwings plane in southern France.

The German ambassador is leaving imminently with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve for the area of the crash.

The Airbus A320 crashed in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. Holland says no survivors are expected.

Spanish King Felipe and his wife are in France on a previously scheduled visit and are currently meeting Hollande.

12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT, 7:30 a.m. EDT)

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 traveled 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.

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