The arduous search for the 150 victims of the worst aviation disaster on French soil in decades was set to resume at dawn Wednesday, as European leaders visit the site of the tragedy to pay their respects. Germanwings budget flight 4U9525, carrying 144 passengers and six crew members, included 16 German teenagers returning home from a a school trip, plunged for eight minutes before hitting the side of a mountain in the French Alps Tuesday with no survivors.
The accidents cause remains a mystery but authorities have recovered a black box from that Airbus A320 at the crash site, where debris was believed to be scattered over four acres of remote and inaccessible mountainous terrain, hampering rescue efforts. More than 300 policemen and 380 fire fighters have been mobilised. Lieutenant Colonel Jean Marc Menichini said a squad of 30 mountain rescue police would resume attempts to reach the crash site by helicopter at dawn Wednesday, while a further 65 police were seeking access on foot.
Video images from a government helicopter Tuesday showed a desolate Snow flecked moonscape, with steep ravines covered in scree. Debris was strewn across the mountainside, pieces of twisted metal smashed into tiny bits. French President François Hollande, his German counterpart Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Ray were expected to reach the scene around 2:00pm(13:00GMT). One of the plane’s black boxes has been found, but it was unclear wether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder. Investigators will continue searching for the second black box Wednesday.