UK

Britons 'likely' on board Alps plane

A rescue helicopter from the French Securite Civile flies over the French Alps during a rescue operation next to the crash site of an Airbus A320 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Officials warn the search and recovery operation could last for days

Some British nationals were "sadly likely" to have been on the plane that crashed in the French Alps, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

The Germanwings plane carrying 150 people crashed on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

One passenger was named as Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio - a UK resident originally from Jaca in Spain - by the mayor of her Spanish home town.

Mayor Victor Barrio said she was on the flight with her baby son Julian.

He said Ms Bandres had been in Spain to attend the funeral of a relative, but he said he did not know if her husband was also on the flight with her.

Ms Bandres's former school, Colegio Escuelas Pías in Jaca, issued a message of "sincere condolences" to her family.

The Manchester Evening News reported that she had lived in the Fallowfield area of Manchester and Rochdale since arriving in the UK.

'No survivors'

The information was not confirmed by the Foreign Office but Mr Hammond said "based on the information available to us" it was likely British nationals were among the victims.

He said he would not speculate on numbers of Britons involved until checks were completed.

"We are working closely with the French, German and Spanish authorities, and the airline, to establish the facts," he said.

He also said the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch, and UK disaster victim identification experts, were standing by to offer assistance to the French authorities, if required.

The Airbus A320 - flight 4U 9525 - went down between Digne and Barcelonnette.

There are no survivors, officials say.

France's interior minister said the "black box" flight recorder has been found but the cause of the crash is not yet known and the plane sent no distress signal during an eight-minute descent.

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