A report that just aired on CNN said that none of the passengers are expected to survive.
The Airbus A320 making the flight for Lufthansa’s lowcost arm, Germanwings, crashed near the small mountain village of Barcelonette in the southern Alps.
A distress call was made by the aircraft at 10.47am, while the plane was “in an abnormal situation”, the French transport ministry said. The crash happened shortly afterwards, it added.
The aircraft disappeared off the radar at around 11.20am, Le Figaro reported. The plane dropped from 11,500 metres to 2,100 metres (38,000ft to 7,000ft) in nine minutes between 10.31am and 10.40am, air radar services said.
The distress call to air traffic control in Marseilles was “mayday, mayday, mayday” and the pilot requested an emergency descent, meaning all airspace had to be cleared below the route of the aircraft.
At least 142 passengers and six crew members were on board. Spain’s deputy prime minister said 45 passengers were believed to be Spanish nationals.
The plane crashed at 2,700 metres altitude in the Alps, in the commune of Méolans-Revel, an isolated area of small villages and hamlets that are difficult to reach. Debris is scattered over an area of 2 sq km, according to French search and rescue.