A Dark Day for Germanwings Flight 4U9525

Barely eight minutes into an unexplained descent, a Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed yesterday in the Alps of Southern France. Al 150 passengers including crew on board are feared dead, leaving two countries in mourning. The plane was enroute from Barcelona in Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany when the disaster took place. Germanwings is a low cost airline carrier owned by Lufthansa group. The flight took off from Barcelona airport at around 10:01 a.m. local time and was scheduled to arrive in Dusseldorf at around 11:49 a.m. local time. It is presumed that the aircraft went down at about 10:37 a.m. local time. It was flying at about a height of 34,000 feet over the French Alps when pilots in the unfortunate aircraft dipped out of radar and did not respond to distress signals send by air traffic control. A distress signal ‘7700’ is equivalent to a Mayday call. Flight 9525’s unexplained descent combined by pilot’s lack of communication differentiates this crash from other common types of air crash.

French airport officials state that the plane crashed between two mountain peaks in a crevasse near the French mountain village of Digne-les-Baines, a remote village about 30 miles from Northern Nice and difficult to access. Digne-les-Baines is about 50 miles from Barcelonnette in France, and where the debris of the crash has been located. Airline controls reported that they lost the plane’s signals at 6,800 feet. Some catastrophic incident must have incapacitated the pilot from landing safely. The descent of the plane was in line for a typical airport approach and there were plenty of airports and ski resort airports in the vicinity where the pilot could have requested for an emergency landing.

Although the identities are unknown, it is believed that since the airline was travelling from a popular holiday destination back to Germany, a majority of the passengers onboard were Germans. At least 45 passengers were of Spanish descent, while there may have been some Turks on board as well. Out of the 150 passengers, 15 victims were German schoolchildren who were returning home from a student exchange programme trip with Catalonia’s Giola Institute in Barcelona.

Airbus planes are technologically sound and this particular airbus underwent routine maintenance the day before. Its last major safety check was conducted in 2013. The pilot also was vastly experienced and had over 10 years of flying experience and had clocked more than 6,000 hours of flying Airbus jets. French authorities are ruling out any foul play. Investigators are hopeful of finding the answers from one of the black boxes that has been found. The recorder can reveal whether the pilots were conscious, whether the jet suffered any massive electrical malfunction that may have disabled electrical equipment, if the systems were operating fine, and if the pilot fought to save the jet. There is no hint of crash because of birds or bad weather. The plane also did not stall as then it would have fallen from the sky. Neither did the aircraft suffer from sudden depressurization or structural failure.

The snow-covered mountainous terrain will make the search and rescue operations incredibly difficult owing to accessibility and proximity with any human civilization; the nearest being two and a half hour walk from the crash site. Police helicopters have spotted debris and bodies in the mountainous zone where it is impossible for vehicles to access it. Regular avalanches the location could impede search investigations exacerbated by bad weather. Officials who flew over the crash site reported that the aircraft disintegrated immediately on impact and the violence of the crash leaves no hope for any survivors.

Condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones!!

Venkatesh Reddy (have 76 posts in total)

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