An Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings was involved in an accident in mountainous area in southern France. The flight carried a crew of six and 142 passengers.

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Flight 4U9525 departed Barcelona, Spain at 10:00 hours CET on a regular passenger service to Düsseldorf, Germany. The flight reached its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet at 10:27 CET. Starting 10:31, the airplane began losing altitude. Last recorded position by flight tracking website Flightradar24 was over southern France at 10:40.

Germanwings is a lower-cost unit of Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline. It has been operating since 2002 as part of traditional national carriers' attempt to compete with rising popularity of European budget carriers. It serves mainly European destinations.

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Investigators have located the crash site and the French President has said, he expects no survivors.

A French Air Force Boeing C-135FR has been dispatched to circle the area and possibly act a a relay station to support rescue efforts. The C-135 is a transport aircraft derived from the prototype Boeing 367-80 jet airliner in the early 1950s and is similar to the 707 with a slightly smaller fuselage.

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More information will be updated as it becomes available.

Update: Germanwings reports there were 150 souls on board.

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Photo: AP