DIGNE, France (Christian Examiner) – Germanwings Flight 9525 from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany, crashed in a remote area of the French Alps, with the airline reporting 144 passengers and six crew members aboard.
Initial reports indicate the plane dropped from an altitude of about 38,000 feet to an elevation of slightly more than 6,000 feet in the mountains in a period of about 8 minutes—a descent rate of 4,000 feet per minute, with no sign of abatement before the aircraft hit the earth.
Germanwings Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann said at a news conference that 67 Germans were among the dead, and that two babies were aboard. Germanwings is the low-cost subsidiary of Germany's Lufthansa Airline.
Spain's deputy prime minister said 45 passengers had Spanish names, Reuters is reporting.
Although the pilots made an emergency broadcast, they did not identify the nature of the emergency, according to various media reports.
Lufthansa's CEO Carsten Spohr tweeted that officials "do not yet know what has happened" and extended his "deepest sympathy to the families and crew."
"If our fears are confirmed, he said, "this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors."