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Germanwings crash: Accident

Germanwings crash: Accident? No distress signal? No terrorism?

Questions that need to be answered as world mourns

From 24/7 Agencies

A rope hangs from a rescue helicopter flying past debris of the Germanwings passenger jet, scattered on the mountainside, near Seyne les Alpes, French Alps, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. A Germanwings passenger jet carrying at least 150 people crashed Tuesday in a snowy, remote section of the French Alps, sounding like an avalanche as it scattered pulverized debris across the mountain. (AP)

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.

No distress signal

A spokesman for the French Civil Aviation authority says the plane that crashed in the French Alps with 150 people on board never sent out a distress signal.

Eric Heraud said the plane lost radio contact at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, but "never declared a distress alert itself."

He said it was the combination of loss of radio contract with control and the plane's descent which prompted the control service to declare a distress.

Heraud said six investigators from the Bureau of Accident Investigations, or BEA, were en route from Paris and would be at the crash site by evening. One investigator from the region was already present, he said.

Officials believe all onboard were likely killed when the plane crashed on its way from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany.

No terrorism

Spokeswoman for the US National Security Council says there is no indication the plane crash in the French Alps was the result of terrorism.

Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Tuesday "there is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time."

The White House says American officials have been in touch with French, German and Spanish officials to offer assistance.

Officials say all 150 people onboard were likely killed when the plane crashed in the French Alps Tuesday as it was flying from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany.

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