tv BBC World News BBC America March 24, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EDT
they sent out a message at 09:47 "gmt." we don't know what the message contain contained, just it was a distress call. there are a couple of official tweets from the germanwings social media account. the first said we have recently become aware of media reports speculating on the incidence. we don't have our own confirmed information. another tweet, then definite information is available, we shall inform the media. the a-320 is considered to be an extremely safe aircraft. this one, with almost 150 people
on board having gone down. we don't know the details of the nationalities of those on board. there are reported to have been two pilots four other crew and 140 passengers. this is the type of aircraft that the germanwings company was using. i like to stress at the moment we don't have a flight number for this plane. we do know that it took off from barcelona on the way to diseldorf. aviation officials said there have been lots of radar of the german flight. here is the number gwi18g. that is actually not the flight number. it's probably more the id number of the plane itself. as soon as we get a flight number, we will bring it to you. 142 passengers two pilots four stewarts at 09:47, the pilots
sent a distress signal an s.o.s., then this happening. we have i believe, the tweet we can show you on the screen. although they are germanwings ones. they are essentially asking people to wait until they have official confirmation of what the media is reporting. recently become aware of media reports speculating on an incident. we do not have any of our own confirmed information. aaron, why we are looking at the tweets i wanted to ask you, this number here of an aviation official gwi18g it's not a flight number right? >> it could be. with gw in it yeah that's not necessarily the registration you are talking about? >> that's right. >> i can't confirm it. >> what we need to find is the
actual flight number. >> and what germanwings used for coding. >> the french prime minister just made a statement. he fears between 142 and 150 passengers and crew have died in a plane crash in the southern french alps. also saying the cause of the crash is not yet known. it's just an hour and ten minutes, almost since that last message was sent according to the information that we are getting. so clearly, the cause of the crash will take some time to establish. what we need to find out apart from the flight number are the weather conditions. if anything it's going to bring a plane down. you would imagine it might be the weather. is there anything particular do you know in your experience with working with the aviation industry about flying over mountains and what passengers
do? do pilots talk about flying over mountains? >> the point of you know again, weather related, but tush lance, you get more turbulence. again, until we know what the weather is or has been during this particular flight then we are not too sure. let's go to our business unit camera and join one of our business reporters who also covers the industry very closely. do you know anymore? we are talking about the 320 family. something like this was manufactured in 1987. close to 6,100 of these flying. they have an impeccable safety record. >> absoluteabsolutely.
this is a workhorse. the chances are, you aren't flying on an a320. this particular aircraft according to information on the tracking flight, flightradar24. it was registered as dipx. one of the variance of the airbus a-320 family was manufactured in november 1990. it has 25 years of operating usage. now, in aviation terms, that isn't a huge amount. they are overhauled on a regular basis. it seems to have been in germanwings possession since january, 2014. if that information is correct, it's a relatively old aircraft but not out of the ordinary. it's a workhorse fleet. this aircraft has a very very good safety record.
>> do you know we are trying to find out what the coding generalwings uses. i don't want to put you on the spot. by any chance do you know? >> again, i can't confirm this but i believe the flight number of this aircraft was germanwings flight 9525. i'm not absolutely 100% on that one. that appears to be the flight number of the aircraft. the information coming in suggests that it was traveling at about 7,000 feet when it disappeared near the french town of digne. that seems to be the situation at the moment. >> thank you very much. sorry for interrupting you there. the french president is making a statement. when we get that we'll go to it. mentioning it is now confirmed -- okay let's go to the president. >> translator: a meeting with
chancellor merkel. because there are a number of german victims and have contact with the king of spain. it is a tragedy. an air tragedy. we will try to understand the reasons and the causes of the accident and obviously, we will give the concerned authorities, spanish and german and the victims, we will give them support. this is a mourning period we are feeling because this is a tragedy that has happened on our territory. i have the will to find out if there were no other consequences of the accident that happened at a very difficult area to access. we will find more in the next hours to come. while waiting, we have to show
solidarity, which is first. thank you. >> the french president repeating what the prime minister said a few minutes ago, that this plane crash and the fear being that nobody has survived. 148 people were believed to have been on board. six of whom were crew 142 passengers. the accident happening near dinne-les-bains. it was on its way to disseldorf in germany. there were two pilots one of them had an s.o.s. signal at 09:47 gmt. it was an hour and 12 minutes ago or so.
this plane an a320 airbus. according to one incident registered 24 years ago. so that's not particularly old for a working aircraft. we just saw the president saying there are likely to be in survivors of the crash. it's a difficult area to access. welcome to bbc news repeating the breaking story. a plane crashing in the southern french alps. a plane operated by the germanwings budget airline that belongs to the parent company of lufthansa lufthansa. an a320 airbus crashing in the southern french alps on tuesday morning. reports of the pilot sending out
a distress signal at 09:47 gmt and the meet ya reporting this plane went down. french television is saying that there is evidence of debris from the plane in that area which is around digne-les-bains. they are saying it is far too early early. let's hear from the french president again. >> translator: there are victims. we know in the next hours we have to show solidarity and that should be our priority. >> aaron heslehurst is here my colleague whose worked very closely with the airline
industry. the s.o.s. call itself tells a story, at least the pilot knew that something was wrong and had time hopefully, to take some sort of action. >> obviously difficulties arising within the cockpit. they pulled out the -- it's interesting. one would suggest it was a rather severe incident or technical problem, if you will happening in the cockpit. typically, any problem is the pilots try to sort the issue out. get the plane -- maybe not send a signal but a message saying we have had some problems we need to divert to a closer airport. but, whether they couldn't sort out the particular problem once it was -- it could come down to a technical problem with the aircraft couldn't fix it sent out this s.o.s. signal.
>> we have more details, aaron, of the exact crash site. the regional council there. the search and rescue team are headed to the crash site. it is worth giving out the flight number. 4u9525. 4u9525 is the flight number of the aircraft that's went down. lufthansa, itself would take how much control over how this budget airline subsidiary is operated. >> lufthansa owns this. every decision. >> every decision is taken by lufthansa? >> through the board, of course.
they have their own management company but they are lufthansa at the end of the day. germanwings is based in cologne. owned by lufthansa. hamburg and dusseldorf. they fly to 8 6 destinations. they have 18. we know this was an a320 200. it's the only that germanwings flies. 18 in service. 16 operated by lufthansa. some of them in lufthansa so the outside looks like a lufthansa aircraft, two operated by eurowings, the former name. they were set up as low cost and
became germanwings 2002. >> let's recap what the french president said. i believe we can hear from the french president who just made a statement in the past few minutes. >> translator: i will have a meeting with chancellor merkel. there were a number of german victims and have contact with the king of spain. it is a tragedy. an air tragedy. we will try to understand the reason and cause of the accident. we will give the concerned authorities spanish and german and also the victims, we will give them support. this is a mourning period that we are feeling because this is a tragedy that has happened on our territory.
i have the will to find out if there were no other consequences of the accident that happened at a very difficult area to access. we will find more in the next hours to come. president francois hollande with a statement with the fear nobody survived the crash. tony, have you been able to get more information through your contact? >> not exactly. i'm looking at the reports. i mean the aircraft is half way through the flight from barcelona to dusseldorf. something has gone wrong and it doesn't appear there were any emergency messages put out or
anything like that. it is very rare for a flight to do this sort of thing. we don't know what the weather is like in the area. the storms are always a factor in these sort of things. at the moment we don't know. >> can i talk to you about the lack of a distress signal? we have heard and reported at 09:47 gmt, the pilot sent out an s.o.s. is that a distress call or just pressing a button? >> it does transmit. there is a button a distress signal. i can't find out if it was verbal or digital distress. >> it's aaron here in the studio aaron heslehurst. we know a lot of the long hold flights with the larger aircraft, the 330s, 340s, et
cetera and boeing aircraft as well they are constantly commune communicateing the engines are speaking and on board computers are speaking to headquarters with what's going on on board. do the 320s do the same thing? could they know what is going on with signals fed from the aircraft engines or computers? >> this is one of the older airplanes. it's about 20 years old. whether the modifications have been done that they have on the more modern ones i don't know. of course once the voice recorder and crash recorder have been found, they normally record the last 60 minutes of the flight. the information will be found, it will just take a little bit of time to disseminate what it was. of course there is flight radar
24 where you can follow the track of airplanes like this. from that you can see immediate changes in height immediate changes in direction or complete loss of signal. you can interpret it from the information you got as to what could have happened. >> i will ask you despite it being 20 years old, in general terms, you know fine for these sort of aircraft. talking the a320 with an impeccable record. it is a workhorse. >> i can't remember the last major accident involving a european carrier in european air space happened. european one is very very rare. something, obviously, has gone
drastically wrong. we have to sit on our hands and wait to find out. we will find out, it will take time. >> thanks for that. tony dixon from airliner world joining us here. just to recap where we are at the moment. president francois hollande says he fears no one survived the germanwings aircraft in the southern french alps. the plane having taken off according to airport officials in spain at 08:55 gmt from barcelona to dusseldorf. the pilot sent and s.o.s. message out near the french down of digne-les-bains. more information from eric the head of the regional council
down there in southern france. the search and rescue teams are headed to the crash sight. the french newspaper saying aviation officials and now according to the french government 142 of the 148 people on board were passengers. there were two pilots and four flight attendants. let's go to chris yates in manchester. if they say no one survived what, in terms of what happened to the plane and how it came down? >> it would seem that the aircraft was at altitude at the time this accident happened. but, above and beyond that perhaps perhaps, you know, the problem
is that we simply don't know at the moment we don't know what happened on board the aircraft. it's a wait and see exercise to determine where the two black boxes are, the flight data recorder and voice recorder in that holding pattern. waiting for the recovery of those items. then a full assessment can be made more appropriately to determine whatever there is to determine. what the cause of the accident was. >> it's aaron here in the studio mentioning it to chris dixon from airliner world. we asked a question about the possible s.o.s. signal that was sent from the cockpit. does that suggest there was a problem that they couldn't
resolve? typically, correct me if i'm wrong, an issue arises in the cockpit, the pilot's first reaction is to sort it out. i'll wondering if an s.o.s. message went out from the cockpit, there was, well something catastrophic perhaps. >> there was something catastrophic. it was quite serious failure. you know you can often track these things on sites like flightradar, for example where the 7700 code will appear up and alert you to the fact there's an aircraft which happens to be in distress. then you go and track that aircraft. eventually it would land on board or land appropriately with
all due haste. but, the problem is he is at altitude. something catastrophic happened. he didn't have the opportunity, the chance to dissend to an appropriate level and then attempt a landing at an airport. that is quite clearly what happened. quite clearly, the major problem that arose was to the airliner. >> chris, is there any known issue with flying over the french alps? do pilots ever report repeatedly any one particular concern they have? >> no. there's no particular problem
other than weather, of course. weather can obviously impact any particular time. not so sure what the weather was today. but, quite clearly, there are certain conditions that would preclude operating in the storm cell. again, we are hypothesizing. we simply don't know the circumstance surrounding the loss of this flight today. but, it is a surprise. it is a surprise as your previous guest suggested that an a320 belonging to a european carrier has come down in this way. as francois hollande said there is a fear quite clearly, that there are no survivors from this
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my deepest sympathy goes to the families and friends of passengers and crew. those sentiments by francois hollande. he wants to express to families and victims of the aircraft my solidarity. this is a mourning a tragedy. >> i was going to ask jenny a question, but i think she's gone. i think she's gone. >> we have to go back to francois hollande commenting.
>>. >> translator: i will have a meeting with chancellor merkel. there were a number of german victims and the king of spain. it is a tragedy. an air tragedy. we will try to understand the reasons and the causes of the accident and obviously, we will give the concerned authorities of spanish and german and also the victims, we will give them support. this is a mourning period that we are feeling because this is a tragedy that happened on our territory. i have the will to find out if there were no other consequences of the accident that happened at a very difficult area to access. we will find more in the next hours to come.
>> francois hollande commenting earlier. there's another tweet coming out of lufthansa. if our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for lufthansa. the ceo of lufthansa hopes to find survivors. >> spanish aircraft officials say the airbus took off at 08:55 gmf. it was 09:47 the pilot is believed to have sent out an s.o.s. message, then the accident near digne-les-bains. the president and prime minister saying they don't believe anybody will have survived this crash. the bbc's transport correspondent is here. one thing we keep stressing is the disbelief that an airbus
operated by western european carrier would go down like this. >> it's very rare. the last accident across europe was over ukraine. that wasn't the airliner's fought, we are pretty sure it was shot down. a different scenario. i have written about this. in terms of the number of people killed for the miles flown. aviation is very safe. european aviation and american aviation is safe. it is a shock. the 320 is the focus of airplanes. they are everywhere. they are incredibly reliable. pilots like flying them. this was an older plane, 24 years old. because it's lufthansa, it is fit with the latest kit. 20 years ago, the biggest single cause of crashes was aircraft flying into the ground. sometimes they didn't know the ground was there. now, modern aircraft have a system that tells the pilot
exactly where they are, what is in front of them. they know if there's a mountain coming up a hill in the way. frankly, because the pilots issued a may day, it seems a technical problem. it looks to me like the aircraft was flying 25,000 feet. it started out 30,000 feet, a normal cruising altitude. it looks like it's come down a little bit. it's speculation. the speed looks okay. from what i hear that area is not that high. it's pointing toward some kind of mechanical issue rather than accidentally literally hitting a mountain. >> already the president of france stated how difficult the rescue operation is going to be. we just got from associated press saying that debris has been located at 2,000 meters altitude. coming down from that height
having given a distress signal does it give any indication of how the pilot may have been coming down? >> well i mean if that's right, then it looks like it came down relatively quickly. the last data i could find was 25,000 feet. let's do quick math six or seven meters. i don't want to speculate too much. we don't like to do that. it looks like it came down quickly. normally with maydays you get them sent out fast. aircraft circle for hours and land. it often comes to nothing. when something happens this quickly, it suggests something catastrophic has gone on with the aircraft. you are not going to be able to land an airbus a 320 on a flat piece of ground. >> search and rescue more
difficult being at 2,000 meters. >> the height shouldn't matter if there are roads going up. it's easier than when they have to find aircraft all over the sea like with the air france crash in 2009 and the mh370 as well. i think in those terms, it's a relatively straight forward recovery. they will find the black boxes and built to with stand crashes. they should find out quickly what is going on. >> richard scott. >> thanks very much. let's speak to the travel expert who joins us by skype now. this isn't supposed to have to a company like germanwings, ever is it simon? >> no, it isn't. let me tell you about germanwings. it was set up really to compete with easy jets and ryan
air flying from the hub airports of munich and frankfort. this is a very important space for them. flying an absolutely standard flight on a tuesday morning from barcelona to dusseldorf. >> we have lost him. let me repeat the two tweets from lufthansa. the first tweet said we do not know what happened to flight 4u9525. that's the flight number. my deepest simpympathy goes to family of passenger and crew. this is a dark day for lufthansa. we hope to find survivors, though the german government and prime minister the president francois hollande they said they don't believe survivors will be
found. i believe we can speak to our correspondent theo. from lufthansa and germanwings, they want to know more before they give information. for this company, this is possibly the biggest tragedy that's ever happened. >> it is extremely severe. it's as we feared so many people being killed. a terrible tragedy. i want to take out something simon was saying about germanwings. this is a major budget airline for lufthansa. itis been steady taking on more and more of lufthansa's business. they want to cut its costs. it's been transferring a lot of its operations. a lot of the aircraft operated by germanwings is lufthansa. an aircraft we believe is involved in the crash is transferred on more on one occasion.
obviously, as it passes lufthansa, it will operate to a higher safety standard. the european safety standards are high. you are not allowed to fly in europe without certain safety standards. that's more of an industrial relations dispute but worth bearing in mind. the geography of the area where the aircraft went down. we are not talking high alps here. they have peaks above 5,000 meters. we are hearing the crash site is around 2,000. it's foothills territory. it's not as though you are in the highest peaks. that may be relevant. >> just getting back to germanwings, you mentioned an industrial dispute. we were certainly covering the industrial dispute with lufthansa. it was their big expansion plans
for german wings talking about going long haul low cost long haul that caused discontent within the company, didn't it? >> absolutely. there have been multiple strikes at length of timeufthansa. the last one was last week. cabben crews and pilots have been having all sorts of issues with it. i think it would be wrong to suggest that might be a factor in this accident. as i say, germanwings as part of lufthansa is operating to the highest possible standard. from the information we have at the moment which is very very limited, there has been a catastrophic failure. >> just getting back quickly on that note when we get reports and an s.o.s. message received from the aircraft and sent from the cockpit suggests whatever
the issue or problem, pilots try to solve the problem first, correct, keep the plane flying. an s.o.s. message suggests and we used this term throughout the last hour it seems like something catastrophic happened to the a320. >> if the aircraft did send out the signal it wasn't a long one. it would be looking for an area to land if they had a problem. that means the direction the aircraft was flying in may turn out to be significant. what happens in an emergency, if the pilot sends out the mayday there's a problem, but the preoccupation is to fly the plane and get it down safely. if he is going to crash, take it away from population. >> theo thanks for that. talk to you soon. we want to give you more information coming from the french government. this is particularly stressing the difficulty of the search and
rescue operation because of the location of where the plane went down. the french interior ministry spokesman says the debris from the crash has been located. the plane crashed at 2,000 meters altitude in the alps. it happened near digne-les-bains. they are saying he expected an extremely long and extremely difficult search and rescue operation because of the remoteness of the area. the interior ministry repeating the line we have been telling you. at 9:45 they say, gmt, we were saying 9:47. it is at that time the pilot sent a distress signal. we don't know whether the signal was a recorded message, whether he pressed a button or was able to talk to ground control. the ministry saying that the
passenger manifest is being verified. 148 people on board. 142 passengers six crew two of whom were pilots four of whom were flight attendants. the french government stressing saying they don't believe anybody will have survived this germanwings crash flight number 4u 925525. we do not yet know what has happened to flight 4u 9525. it's a personal tweet. >> he says my sympathy with those who are involved and their families. if our fears are confirmed, it is a dark day. we hope to find survivors. >> can i say, what time did you say? >> the french ministry said
10:45 a.m. which is french time. in gmt, 09:45. >> german air traffic control says the crash report was logged at 10:37 a.m. local time. >> that's quite a long time between the distress signal and crash. >> they logged it as the aircraft was going down. >> let's hear from the french prosecute, francois hollande who made this statement about a half hour ago. >> translator: i will have a meeting with chancellor merkel. there are a number of german victims and also i have contact with the king of spain. it is a tragedy. a new air tragedy. we will try to understand the reasons and the causes of the accident and obviously, we will give the concerned authorities,
spanish and german and also the victims, we will give them support. this is a mourning period that we are feeling because this is a tragedy that's happened on our territory. i have the will to find out if there were no other consequences of the accident that happened at a very difficult area to access. we will find more in the next hours to come. >> president francois saying he fears many germans were on board the germanwings plane. the plane taking off from barcelona on the eastern coast of spain. spain is a hugely popular destination for german tourists. it was on its way back to dusseldorf. you can see the flight stop over the southern french alps.
the exact location in that area the location of the crash site. president hollande, the prime minister saying the location is remote and it will be an extremely difficult and extremely long search and rescue operation because of the remoteness of the location. >> that flight heading back to the hub for one of the hubs for germanwings. we have an aviation industry consultant that joins us on the line. good to have you with us. we said before this shouldn't happen derek. this shouldn't happen to a european carrier, one that is certainly owned by lufthansa. what is your take on it? >> caller: first of all, it's very early day. every option will be considered by the investigating forces.
lufthansa will be sending their experts. i do stress again, it's very early and quite rare that something like this because lufthansa and subsidiaries have reputations. it is a surprise and particularly in the daylight. every possibility will be considered on this. the fact it was so sudden again, does give concern for the flight. i can't give you any answers at the moment and nor would anybody else at this time. you have to look at the bits and pieces that come through. so i really can't add too much to what has already been said. >> no. you are right. we don't want to speculate here. the age of the aircraft 20-plus
years old. in general terms, aviation and the airbus family -- >> caller: it's not an old aircraft. it will be interesting to know what they find. that isn't the issue. >> derek, is it possible to shed any light on what source of s.o.s. message was sent? are there different ways of sending an s.o.s. message from the cockpit? does the pilot have to talk to the ground? >> no they can do it by code. i would imagine that if something catastrophic happened and you had enough time to put out a message that it would have been in voice. the nearest they would have had, possibly i mean this is not a good thing. to find somewhere to land.
they will be looking at obviously, the weather conditions. still, very early day. >> derek, talking a 320 that is basically a lufthansa aircraft highly maintained. i wonder if a plane like this would have had the type of technology on board that we know exists. the family of 340s and 330s where the plane communities during the flight. it communicates with a maintenance center with headquarters electronically. >> it will have that as part of the licensing. it will be required to have what we would call a basics. some of the more advanced aircraft. the dreamliner obviously, a little more sophisticated. to be in the air, it would have
to have particularly going over europe and taking the reputation of lufthansa and the germans. it would have had all the requirements for navigation and message sending and receiving. >> derek, maybe one final question. from cruising altitude to the debris being found at 2,000 meters on a mountain does that tell us anything about how the plane came down? possibly how the pilot may have managed the decent? >> caller: i couldn't give an answer to that. i emphasize, again, it is very early. investigators will go in there with a very open mind. they will know pretty quickly what has happened. these are experienced people. as we speak, they will be nearing the site to try to determine what exactly happened.
>> okay derek, thank you for your time. an aviation expert with his analysis. >> let's go to jenny hill who joins us from berlin. reporting on the tweets from the ceo of lufthansa. are you hearing anymore there? >> reporter: yeah you are right. the tweets are coming in. if our fears are confirmed, they say this is a dark day for lufthansa. the tweet continues, we hope to find survivors, although as suggested, that won't be the case. he's warned there are a significant number of likely to be a significant number of german victims. there's a great deal of shock here. as you can imagine, the german press headlining that particular fact, the significant number of german victims staying in a popular destination.
germanwings, a very famous -- it's a subsidiary of lufthansa, the national company. well known, well loved and well used here. the plane was flying from barcelona to dusseldorf. they are based out of cologne but flying into a major, national hub. we have known about the aircraft itself. it's said to be 24 years old. it's been with them since 1991. we haven't heard anything yet, from chancellor merkel. president hollande of france said he will be speaking to her shortly, updating her about the emerging details of the situation. he's going to be keeping the spanish king informed. nothing yet from chancellor merkel. i would imagine we will hear a statement later on particularly given the impact on germany with this number of german victims.
lufthansa dropped by 5% as you would expect. we are waiting more details from lufthansa and germanwings. they are aware of the reports. they don't have concrete information. as soon as they get details, they will update us. at the moment we are watching this. it's an emerging situation, but a great deal of shock here. a significant number of germans are on board the flight. >> to touch on this this is still the early stages here you mentioned, of course germanwings, it's a household name. a very well known airline in germ germany. it is a household name where lufthansa had expansion plans. it continues to cause discontent within the family group, the lufthansa group. >> yeah we have seen a great
deal of strikes, countless strikes, really. the last strike went on for four days and ended saturday. pilot striking over all sorts of issues, pay, conditions pensions and hours. germanwings was doing well. lufthansa had plans to expand it. certainly, very well known. perhaps -- >> having problems with that line. let's show you the flight path again. the plane, an a320 airbus taking off from barcelona. 08:55 it took off for the german city of dusseldorf. two pilots four flight attendants. the exact location of the crash
site according to the head of the regional council the digne-les-bains. they have been quoted on the associated press from the digne-les-bains police. there were some clouds but the cloud ceiling was not low. he has spoken to french television network. clearly, one of the things people are wondering is what the weather was like at that altitude above the french alps. it was 9:47 the pilot sent out an s.o.s. message, then the crash. >> 37 according to german air traffic radar, they logged or registered the crash. >> 40-something minutes. >> the french ministry -- here we go this is manual the prime minister. he says that air drama plunged
french into a tragedy. that's from the french prime minister. president francois hollande said this is a very remote location where the search and rescue is taking place. it may be difficult to reach and carry out the operation. it is near a popular ski resort. just to give you the flight number, germanwings the budget subsidiary of lufthansa. 4u 9525. every analyst we spoke to talked about the extreme rarity of something like this happening to a western european carrier. the german transport minister to travel to the site of the crash. president hollande said there are likely to be a lot of german nationals on board.
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