While flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf earlier today, Germanwings Flight 4U9525 crashed in a remote, snowbound area of the southern French Alps, and all 150 people aboard are feared dead. This is the first recorded air disaster for the Cologne-based airline, a short-haul subsidiary of Lufthansa, and the 12th Airbus A320 to experience a fatal accident since the aircraft went into service in 1988.

Germanwings is a low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The crash of Flight 4U9525 is the first air disaster for Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Roughly 40 minutes after takeoff, air controllers lost radio contact with Flight 4U9525. Between 10:31-10:40 am CET on Tuesday, the aircraft dropped from 36,000 to 7,000 feet, then disappeared off the radar at 11:20 am CET. After being witnessed by several onlookers as flying very low, the plane went down in the isolated commune of Méolans-Revel, near the Ubaye Valley village of Barcelonette, scattering debris over two square miles’ worth of harsh, craggy mountain terrain.

Difficult to access and lacking roads, this sparsely populated area of the Alpes de Haute-Provence region has recently received heavy snowfall, and is prone to avalanches. Though the downed plane has been located by a French military helicopter, the French Interior Ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henry Brandet, told France’s BFM TV that the search would ultimately be “extremely long” and arduous.

The region of the French Alps Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The craggy, remote region of the French Alps where the plane went down is difficult to access. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

No cause has yet been determined for the crash; skies were relatively clear when the plane lost radio contact, and the A320 can fly on a single engine.

The plane’s 144 passengers and six crew, none of whom have yet been identified as victims, are believed to have been Spanish, Turkish and German citizens. French President François Hollande has confirmed that there were no French citizens aboard. If the deaths of all aboard are confirmed, this will have been the most deadly crash in France in 30 years.

United℠ Explorer Card

The United Explorer card recently got some enhancements like 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays and a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee credit (up to $100). The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.