Cockpit voice recorder of crashed German airliner found, probe under way

Updated: 2015-03-25 14:28


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Cockpit voice recorder of crashed German airliner found, probe under way

A French gendarme makes his way around debris from an Airbus A320 in the mountains, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 24, 2015 in this still image taken from TV. [Photo/Agencies]

The Germanwings plane, which left Barcelona Tuesday morning for Duesseldorf airport, started to descent shortly after reaching its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet and crashed in a snow covered area in southern French Alps.

Causes of the crash remained unclear. The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) has sent investigators to France and a joint investigation by France, Germany and Spain is opened to find out the causes of the tragedy. A group of experts from Lufthansa, Germanwings and Airbus were also dispatched later Tuesday to the crash site.

A spokeswoman for Lufthansa told Xinhua that the plane had a technical problem with its nose landing door and was prevented from flying in Duesseldorf airport Monday.

She thus confirmed a previous report from German Der Spiegel magazine that the plane was in "Aircraft on ground" (AOG) mode one day before its crash.

The problem was then "completely solved" and left "no security risks," stressed the spokeswoman. And the plane returned to normal operation Monday morning.

She declined to confirm another report that several pilots at Germanwings refused to fly planes with the same model as the crashed A320 aircraft, only saying that some pilots could not take up their position due to "personal reasons" which her company could understand.

Earlier Tuesday, Germanwings chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told reporters that the crashed plane received its last "routine check" Monday in Duesseldorf by Lufthansa's technicians.

In Washington, the White House said no signs had emerged about terrorism linked to the crash of the German budget airliner.

"US officials have been in touch with French, German and Spanish authorities and have offered assistance," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement.

"There is no indication of a nexus to terrorism at this time," she added.

Meehan said US President Barack Obama had been briefed on the tragedy by Lisa Monaco, his adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and loved ones," she said.