• Spain's news in English

What caused the Germanwings crash in the French Alps?

The Local/AFP · 24 Mar 2015, 20:39

Published: 24 Mar 2015 20:39 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The black box has been found and is being delivered to investigators. They will also seek to glean information from the debris, victims' bodies, radio communications and maintenance logs, as well as looking at the background and training of the crew.
- What does the lack of a distress call mean?
"The crew did not put out a Mayday call. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane in distress after losing contact with the crew," said civil aviation authorities. "It was the combination of the loss of radio contact and the descent that caused the control room staff to send out a distress call at 0930 GMT."
"The lack of a Mayday call opens up all possibilities," said a former investigator with France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for the Security of Civil Aviation (BEA), on condition of anonymity.
- What are the main theories?
"For the moment, it could be a technical problem, a non-technical problem, a poor reaction by the crew to an emergency situation as was the case with the AF447 flight from Rio to Paris," said the aviation expert, referring to the Air France plane which crashed into the Atlantic in June 2009 after stalling in midair.
-  Can we rule out a terrorist attack?
"If a plane explodes in midair, the debris are spread across several kilometres as was the case with the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over Ukraine."
That does not rule out the possibility that the plane was hijacked by people on board prior to the crash. That will only be ruled out by inspection of the wreckage and the black box recorder.
- A collision?
No other plane -- whether civilian or military -- has been listed as missing.
- Was the age of the aircraft a factor?
It is not the age of an aircraft that determines its vulnerability -- it is the quality of the maintenance.
Story continues below…
Leading aviation companies submit to stringent, frequent checks and pilots inspect the planes ahead of every flight.
This particular Airbus A320 of Germanwings underwent full maintenance in summer 2013, said the head of the company Thomas Winkelmann.
"But we cannot rule out a structural issue: a failure of a part of the structure caused by an absence of detailed maintenance or the wear of a
particular element that will become apparent after tens of thousands of flight hours," said the former investigator.
"In the history of aviation, it's only when accidents occur that we are able to detect unforeseen weaknesses on parts of a plane where maintenance procedures were not thought necessary," the investigator added.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists lift veto on conservatives
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available