Update from the news report Germanwings Airbus_A320 Crashes in Alps
Airbus SAS is based in Europe and is the major competitor to U.S. based Boeing. The A320 class of passenger aircraft have an excellent safety and performance record as does both Lufthansa and the company’s economy Germanwings.
The BBC is reporting that there were 144 passengers and 6 crew on the flight which crashed somewhere near Prads-Haut-Bleone and Barcelonette in the French Alps, a remote mountainous region which makes search-and-rescue difficult.
Barcelonette is in the department of Alpes-de-Haute Provence in the Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azure and has a population of about 2000.
At Prads-Haut-Bleone (Digne-les-Bains), population less than 200, it is currently raining and the temperature is about 50 degrees F.
The altitude in the local area ranges from 2,726 to as much as 9,715 ft.
There are also reports that instead of an actual “Mayday” or standard 7700 squawk, the distress call was “Emergency emergency.”
The meaning of the emergency/distress call is unknown but apparently it took place a considerable time (in aircraft flight terms) before the crash.
The Alps in that region average about 3,000 meters in height.