The Latest: A320 that crashed in France has good safety record, thousands fly worldwide

Industrials Associated Press

1:25 p.m. (1225 GMT, 8:25 a.m. EDT)

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The Airbus 320 plane that went down in the French Alps is a workhorse of modern aviation. Similar to the Boeing 737, the single-aisle, twin-engine jet is used to connect cities that are between one and five hours apart. Worldwide, 3,606 A320s are in operation, according to Airbus, which also makes the smaller but near-identical A318 and A319 and the stretched A321. An additional 2,486 of those jets are flying.

The Germanwings A320 crashed Tuesday crashed in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. No survivors are expected.

The A320 family has a good safety record, with just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis.

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1:10 p.m. (1210 GMT, 8:10 a.m. EDT)

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The CEO of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, says he doesn't yet have any information about what happened to its flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf that French officials say has crashed in the Alps.

"My deepest sympathy is with all the relatives and friends of our passengers and crew on 4U 9525," Carsten Spohr was cited in a tweet by Lufthansa as saying. "If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors."

Antonio San Jose, spokesman for Spanish airport authority AENA, told the Onda Cero radio station that authorities do not yet know how many Spaniards were on the jet but that the authority's best information is that 147 people were aboard the plane.

"It would be a miracle if there were survivors but hopefully there will be. We do not know the causes, simply that it lost contact," San Jose said.

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1 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8 a.m. EDT)

French President Francois Hollande has spoken briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express solidarity following the crash of a Germanwings plane in southern France.

The German ambassador is leaving imminently with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve for the area of the crash.

The Airbus A320 crashed in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. Holland says no survivors are expected.

Spanish King Felipe and his wife are in France on a previously scheduled visit and are currently meeting Hollande.

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12:40 p.m. (1140 GMT, 7:40 a.m. EDT)

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet says debris from the crash of an Airbus A320 has been located and the plane crashed at 2,000 meters altitude in the Alps.

Brandet told BFM television that he expected "an extremely long and extremely difficult" search and rescue operation because of the area's remoteness.

The airplane sent out a distress signal at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Brandet said.

He said the passenger manifest is being verified.

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12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT, 7:30 a.m. EDT)

French President Francois Hollande says no survivors are likely in the Alpine crash of a passenger jet carrying 148 people.

The Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed Tuesday in the French Alps region as it traveled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, French officials said. Eric Ciotti, the head of the regional council, said search-and-rescue teams were headed to the crash site at Meolans-Revels.

In a live briefing Tuesday, Hollande said the area of the crash was remote and it was not clear whether anyone on the ground had been hurt. Hollande said it was probable that a number of the victims are German.

"It's a tragedy on our soil," he said, adding he would be speaking shortly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The French newspaper La Provence, citing aviation officials, said the Airbus plane carried at least 142 passengers, two pilots and four flight attendants.