Two Australians have been confirmed among the 150 dead after an Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings crashed into the French Alps.
The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that the Australians – a woman and her adult son from Victoria were on board flight 4U 9525.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all those killed but particularly with the loved ones of the two Australians who have lost their lives,” Mr Abbott said.
“Our consular officials are doing what they can for the families.”
The flight was travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf and lost altitude rapidly 30 minutes into the flight. The 24 year-old plane’s black box has been located.
The cause of the crash has not yet been identified. Reports suggest that the focus of investigations will be on why the plane didn’t issue a distress call before it began its descent.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 24, 2015
“The aircraft’s contact with French radar, French air traffic controllers ended at 10.53am at an altitude of about 6000 feet (1.8 kilometres). The plane then crashed,” Lufthansa unit Germanwings’ Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann told journalists at a press conference.
Emergency workers arriving on the scene found no survivors and the plane torn apart entirely with no part of the plane intact.
Passengers on the flight included 16 children and two teachers from the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in the town of Haltern am See in northwest Germany.
The French president Francois Hollande has declared France to be in mourning. The crash is the first air disaster in France since the Concorde tragedy in 2000.
In a press conference German chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We are shocked by the extent of the accident which has brought disaster to so many people.”