PLANE CRASH IN ALPS

Authorities raise number of Spanish victims in Germanwings crash to 51

Government initially stated there were 45 people on board “with Spanish surnames” Secretary of state for security insists that this is still a “provisional” figure

One of the black boxes recovered from the plane crash site.
One of the black boxes recovered from the plane crash site.BEA

The Spanish government announced on Wednesday that it had identified 49 Spanish victims of the air accident that took place in the French Alps on Tuesday, after comparing information supplied by families of the passengers and the flight manifest. The Spanish secretary of state for security, Francisco Martínez, explained that the figure of 49 victims should still be treated as “provisional,” until there is a definitive death toll.

On Tuesday the Spanish authorities had announced there were “45 people on board with Spanish surnames.”

The French authorities, meanwhile, have ruled out any possibility of being able today to recover any of the bodies of the 150 people who perished in the accident.

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazenueve, said on Wednesday that the black box from the Germanwings plane is “damaged” but that it “will be possible to analyze it.”

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The minister reiterated that, for now, no possible cause for the crash is being ruled out. That includes terrorism, although he added that this last hypothesis “is not the priority.”

The president of Germanwings’ parent group Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr, called the accident “inexplicable,” and stated that the aircraft was in perfect working order.

Meanwhile, in Spain the authorities have taken 40 or so DNA samples from direct family members of the victims, with the aim of identifying the human remains at the crash site.

The French transport minister, Ségolène Royal, has revealed that the plane did not fall from 10,700 meters to 1,800 in just eight minutes, as was announced on Tuesday. Instead the time interval between the two altitudes was 18 minutes. According to Royal, contact with the pilots was lost at 10.31am, 20 minutes before the impact.