Germany & Spain: mourning for the victims of Germanwings
Returning from a week-long exchange trip, 16 Joseph König’s secondary school teenagers and two teachers were on the Germanwings flight which never arrived from Barcelona. The aircraft, an Airbus A320, crashed in southern France on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. It was on route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it went down on a mountainside high in the French Alps.
At the same time, a moment of silence was observed on Wednesday afternoon at various sites across Spain for the Germanwings crash victims. The Spanish government said on Wednesday afternoon that 51 people with Spanish names were on the plane.
The flight Flight 9525 -- operated by Germanwings, a low-cost division of Lufthansa -- took off at 10:01 a.m. (5:01 a.m. ET) Tuesday from Barcelona to Dusseldorf with 144 passengers and six crew members aboard. Its takeoff was delayed by 26 minutes from its scheduled departure time because air traffic controllers didn't give permission to the plane to start its engines earlier.
The aircraft crashed shortly before 11 a.m. in a remote area near Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes de Haute Provence region. All aboard are presumed dead.
The plane went down in a rugged part of the Alps. A local tourist official insisted that the crash occurred on a particularly sheer area of mountainside. Helicopter crews found the airliner in pieces, while German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described it as "a picture of horror." Germanwings plane crash: Pilot 'locked out of cockpit' One of the two pilots of the Germanwings plane was locked out of the cockpit, according to reports.
Early findings from the cockpit voice recorder suggest the pilot made dreadful efforts to get back in.
It said the captain had more than 6,000 hours of flying experience and had been with Germanwings since May 2014, having flown previously for Lufthansa and Condor.
According to protocols, when there are two crew, one can leave the cockpit but only for a limited time.
A senior French military official involved in the investigation described a “very smooth” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter. Therefore, he hits the door stronger, and no answer.
While the audio seemed to give some light into the circumstances leading to the air crash on Tuesday morning, it left many questions unanswered, since why don’t even know yet the reason why one of the guys went out.
Among the theories that have been put forward, there is a possibility that the pilot could have been injured by a sudden event such as a fire or a drop in cabin pressure.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday morning that terrorism was not a likely “hypothesis at the moment,” but that no theories had been excluded.
Investigators indicated that the primary cause of the crash was a series of human errors, including inadequate maintenance checks on the ground and a failure by the pilots to notice emergency warning signals.
Sources: Euronews, CNN, New York Times