Two Australian citizens are among the victims of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers and crew on board.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that a Victorian woman and her son were aboard the doomed flight.
“I don’t think it gets any easier announcing the death of Australian citizens in a tragedy overseas,” Ms Bishop said.
“Our thoughts and prayers and support are with the family of the victims and we will continue to provide them whatever consular assistance they may require.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott also offered condolences on behalf of the nation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all those killed but particularly with the loved ones of the two Australians who have lost their lives,” Mr Abbott said.
An Australian consular official is travelling to the French village of Gap to liaise with local authorities investigating the crash.
144 passengers and six crew were aboard flight 4U9525 when it went down over the southern French Alps on Tuesday. The Germanwings Airbus A320 was en route from Barcelona in Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany. According to local French police, there were no survivors. Most of the victims were Spanish and German nationals.
While the exact cause of the disaster is unknown at this stage, an official for Lufthansa, the parent airline of Germanwings, warned against speculation that it was anything but an accident.
“For the time being, we say it’s an accident, anything else would be speculation,” Heike Birlenbach, said.
Debris from the downed plane is strewn across a high altitude area of the Alps, making the recovery operation difficult. The flight’s Black Box recorder has already been recovered, however.
It is believed that Germanwings flight 4U9525 went into an eight minute rapid descent from a cruising altitude of 38,000ft before crashing in to the mountains about 45 minutes in to its 90 minute journey.
It is being reported that the pilots at no point indicted to air traffic controllers that the aircraft was in distress.
“The crew did not send a Mayday. It was air traffic control that decided to declare the plane was in distress because there was no contact with the crew,” a French civil aviation official said.
TOP IMAGE: Relatives of passengers of the Germanwings plane that crashed in French Alps. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)