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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  March 24, 2015 7:30am-8:01am EDT

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now if there have been any homes affected. we will know this in the next few hours. >> let's talk to our paris correspondent, jacky rowland. what have you managed to find out about this, because of course the plane has gone down very close it would appear to a french village. >> yes, that's right. the plane has crashed near the village of barcelona a very small village quite renote in the french alps. we are talking about a high mountainous region. it will make things difficult for emergency services, the kind of terrain they will be dealing with. the interior minister is on his way to the site. this is very typical of recent
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emergencies in france recently, where the interior minister himself is on the scene directing the response of the emergency services. as i said, beyond that, president hollande has said to clearly we'll be getting more details in the coming minutes and hours and he's also indicated his desire to be completely transparent in sharing information all the way along the way with with the german and spanish authorities since the flight was on a flight path between barcelona and düsseldorf when it came down. >> it's interesting how the french president has taken complete control of the information concerning this disaster. so far we don't seem to have heard anything from the germans. we haven't heard anything from the airline, apart from the airline is called germanwings a low-cost budget airline owned by lufthansa, the national
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carrier. we'll be crossing to germany and getting the latest from our correspondent there. jacki, you're saying the french is taking the lead in this. >> this accident happened on french territory obviously the fact that the plane belonged to a german carrier and flying between spain and germany indicates strongly that there would have been at least some spanish and german citizens onboard. it does fall to the french to take the lead to this, because it was near to a french village that the plane has come down. the fact that president francois hollande has responded and come out in public quickly and the fact that he does seem to be taking the lead object the information does follow the path on his response to emergencies
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in recent time. it's only a couple of months ago since we had a series of shootings here in paris. again, the french president was very much in the front row, very much visible taking the lead as in deed was his interior minister. he's very much in line with the behavior of the french president and from this government in dealing with emergencies. there's a website called flight radar that produces animations of the flight paths. it's been tracking this particular plane's journey and now we can have a look at flight
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9525 to see the pattern as it heads off from barcelona and rapidly gains height to 38,000 feet, but as it crosses land at marseille on the french coast, it begins to drop. and falls in the french away thats. mike, from your experience in the aviation industry, what are your observations as to what could have happened to this
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flight? >> they will be getting flight characteristic data on the aircraft. that as well as search and rescue efforts i'm sure have already commenced and all that. i think the one thing i would point out is it's quite coincidental perhaps is the air asia accident that occurred last december that also involved and a320. aviation authorities as well as faa aviation issued an emergency on the a320 on flight sensors.
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we're leaving that as an a3 he 20 coincidence in accidents the last three months. >> what are your thoughts as you absorb the fact that the plane seemed to lose height rather rapidly indeed, not long after takeoff, not long after leaving barcelona in spain and crossing over into france at around the marseille point? >> obviously they're going to be looking at the climb, as well as the altitude and perhaps potential high altitude flight of this aircraft. that's out of the things they'll be looking at and several other areas to be considering, as well, the main thing would be the search and rescue attempts, obviously survivors there and to
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record the wreckage and what not. also important would be the recovery of the flight data recorders and evaluation of the data information for that control sector. >> we've heard so much, haven't we of late about flight data recorders, because we've had to deal with the issue of aviation accidents quite a lotteriesly. is this just a perception or is this borne out by statistics? are there more plane crashes now, has there been more plane crashes in recent times? >> well statistically there aren't the system is still very safe. it's rare to have a plane crash especially in special aviation. obviously during an accident, statistics mean nothing. >> this is a very short flight between barcelona and düsseldorf in germany. what do you think of the route is it an established conventional route?
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>> it is. it is an established conventional route. the traffic system -- to work with as well as the airlines. that's common information rewarding the air space over europe. >> are there any other clues that perhaps you can gasoline from the very scant information that we've got, for instance that it rapidly ascended to around 38,000 feet and we understand there was a distress call from the plane before it was lost to radar. >> ok, and that's about as much information as we have at this present time, but we do have a lot of confidence in the french and response to accident investigation as well as the certainly and rescue efforts. as more information comes out i'm very sure that they'll make
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information public -- available to the public as deemed appropriate. it's just a pros that's all to work here in this terrible mishap. >> talking to us live from singapore, thank you very much indeed. let's go to our correspondent dominic cain in berlin to find out if anymore detail is emerging there. we've been getting the most of the information we've got so far has been coming from france and from the french president himself. what's happening in germany? >> let me read to you a tweet that lufthansa has on it's site. >> we he do not know what happened to flight knife fine 25. if our fears are confirmed, it
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is a dark day for lufthansa. we've spoken physically there's a degree of ambiguity about the situation, but the tweet would give credence to the idea that some tragedy has occurred which president hollande has gone into great detail about spoken about how this is a tragedy, would take time to find out what caused this crash and his expression of three. there is a sense from lufthansa on their social media site that they are still hoping to find survivors. >> what about germanwings itself? we know that it's a budget airline. it's a low cost carrier but it is a subsidiary, isn't it, of lufthansa. >> yes indeed it is.
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this would be the first fatal incident involving one of its airliners since germanwings came into operation. it has a staff employees of a few thousand and operates many airbus 320 and airbus 319 airliners. they ply its trade in the european union on short haul flights, low frills flights that kind of thing. this airliner i in question, a320 is used by airlines around the world for precisely this purpose, short haul flights no frills, that sort of thing. for germanwings this would be a terrible tragedy. from lufthansa if the sweet from their website is correct for them obviously this is a very serious negative event also. it's worth making the point that lufthansa has a very good safety
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record and until today germanwings, too had a injury safe air transport record, so this is a terrible tragedy for germany, for germanwings for lufthansa and we can expect to see some sort of official reaction from both the airliner and the dealer. i would imagine from the german government in the not too distant futurer perhaps more so because we've seen french president francois hollande talk about that as a tragedy having occurred and being so definitive about it. >> obviously as a german carrier, it was flying from barcelona in spain to düsseldorf in germany, is it right to assume that there would have been many germans onboard. >> we can certainly assume the people onboard had business concerns in germany that had come to düsseldorf
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it would be prudent for us not to speculate about nationalities onboard, but we could assume many people were german. with he need to establish how many people were onboard and what nationalities they were from. as i said to you before, the tweets from lufthansa points in one direction but the press officer that we spoke to physically was not prepared to go into details about the national break downs and that sort of thing. >> no, i can understand. early days, then. thank you very much. we can talk via skype to another aviation analyst who joins us from somewhere in the u.k. thank you very much for talking
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to us. can i get your early thoughts as to what could have occurred to have brought this plane down in the southern part of the french alps? >> well, gobble to say really, martin. i gather that the aircraft left about 9:00 the time at britain that's what air traffic control works on, as well. it flew out across the mediterranean and then coasted in as they say in the trade and flew over the french coast at about 9:31 by which time it had reached it's planned cruising height of 38,000 feet. at that stage, it started are losing height fairly rapidly and the last radar trace shows it at 6,800 feet, which may just be the height of the mountains
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where it crashed. i'm afraid i haven't had a moment to check if that's the case. >> this could point to some kind of malfunction mechanical malfunction? >> that is a possibility but as people have been saying, aviation statistically is still very very safe. there are 6,450 plus airbus 320 aircraft around the world and the incidence of catastrophes are very low indeed. >> when a plane goes down, it tends to capture the attention and imagination of people. we do tend to get perceptions mixed up with reality. >> absolutely, and of course, if you happen to be involved in this statistics mean absolutely
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nothing, it's 100% for. you the likelihood of it happening i go very small. as they say in the business, there are lots of holes in the swiss cheese that have to line up before a catastrophe happens. there is lots and lots of backup in all of these aircraft. the likelihood of a catastrophic mechanical failure is small however airbus a320's have had some problems lately but there's no particular reason to suspect that that had anything to do with this. of course, the other possibility is human intervention. that could be, you know, either from people onboard the aircraft or possibly from somebody outside the aircraft having put some kind of device on to the aircraft, although that's perhaps less likely these days with the security that we have. >> indeed. what do you think about the location as to where this crash
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seems to have come down? we're hearing that the debris is being found at an altitude of around 2,000 meters. as we know, it's the southern part alps. >> the aircraft did come down very quickly. had there been a loss of control for some reason, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the crew could have got some kind of control before the aircraft hit the ground, in which case, it doesn't necessarily mean that the aircraft collided with the ground at full speed as it were.
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so it's not absolutely impossible that there could be survivors from this. there have been survivors from the most horrific accidents but i have to say and of course this is complete speculation it's probably not very likely. >> we can but hope at this point. tell me what is likely now to be happening, because of course, an investigation into what's gone on will be underway immediately won't it? we understand that the french have already sent the interior minister has gone to the village where the remains of the plane are to be found in order to help recovery two start the beginning of the process by which the authorities try to understand exactly what's gone wrong here. >> well, of course, the french have a very good investigatory department who will immediately
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be i suspect they're on site already. i'm not sure they need the help of a minister, but i expect it's a good thing for him or her to be there but they're quite used to this situation. if there is nobody left alive from this crash and there's just, you know, lots of wreckage, then the things that they will be looking for are the flight recorders, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, because those he are the pieces of evidence which could eventually tell them what happened here. now both of those devices are supposed to survive very severe accidents. they're located at the tail of the aircraft, and they're shock proof and heat proof and all those other things and they have been known to survive very severe accidents indeed, where no person survived onboard the aircraft and there were only small bits of wreckage, the hope that they have at the moment will be that they will be able
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to find these two data recorders. >> we understand sean, now from the french transport minister he's being quoted as saying there are no survivors. going back to the black box data recorders, of course they're not black at all are they, sean? >> no, they're called black boxes, dating back to the war time. every time a piece of electronics came into the aircraft, they always called them black boxes. they are orange so that you can find them easily, the pridest colors they can be. they do have locator beak consist on them, which should have been fired off by the impact of the crash and, you know we shall just have to wait and see whether they're going to be found. >> the thought occurs to me that this accident involves many different aviation jurisdictions, doesn't it? we are talking about the plane originate be in spain in barcelona, it's gone down in french air space and of course
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it's a german airline en route to düsseldorf. who would take the lead in terms of the investigation into finding out what exactly went wrong? >> well, the french will, because it's their territory but of course, they will invite onboard their inquiry the germans for sure, probably the spanish. of course it is an airbus. it will have been built the a320 is built in france and in germany, so those are the countries that would have been involved as far as the technicalities are concerned so it isn't such a widespread of nationalities as it might have been. >> what about international oversight? what about the international aviation authority that will need to be informed and kept appraised of every development in the investigation?
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>> the international governing body will be keeping an eye on what's going on. they will let the french authority get on with it. they will almost certainly produce an interim report within a month and they're obliged to give another interim report after a year. sometimes these accidents take two years to unravel, and so, you know, we're not probably expecting much in the way from the officials anytime very soon. >> ok, and i'm also hearing sean, that vias twitter sphere that the bodies are victim are being taken to an emergency morgue that's been set up at a gymnasium in the village in the
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southern french alps just north of nice. this is an area of small villages not terribly densely populated, it would appear, so this is a terrible tragedy to befall a small quiet and fairly remote area. >> indeed, but it is i was going to say encouraging it's entirely the wrong word. if they have retrieved people, they must have got close to where the main part of the wreckage is, as far as the investigation is concerned that is good news. it's naturally a huge tragedy. when you say, you know, it's an area not perhaps very populated it is a mountainous area and often in these mountainous areas, the communities are quite used to tragedies of one sort or another. it could be that they're very
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well able to cope with this kind of thing. >> thank you very much for talking to us live. >> time to take stock and work out the details we have managed to establish. a plane a germanwings plane with 142 passengers and six crew onboard set off from barcelona airport en route to düsseldorf in germany. a short while after takeoff, it established the required height of 38,000 feet. as it entered french territory something seemed to have gone wrong, because it plum melted, quite literally plum tedded, lost and awful lot of height in a fairly short space of time. we're talking about plunging from 38,000 feet down to
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6,800 feet. now, at this point it's in french territory it's very close to the alps and finally it goes down in the southern alps just north of nice, but in a community of small villages, not terribly densely populated. we understand from a tweet from the transport minister of france that there are no survivors, and that the remnants of the plane and unfortunately, the bodies are being found at an altitude of about 2,000 meters, so clearly, this is a mountainous region. the french interior minister bernard cazenueve is there. this is the scene at the moment. the french president francois
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hollande confirmed the tragic events. >> it's tragedy a new aerial tragedy. we will make sure we know all the causes of what happened and share that information with all the concerned authorities german and spanish and contact all the families, as well. we're in mourning, because it's a tragedy that happened on our soil. i have the world to know if there are any consequences of the accident, it is in a zone very difficult to access. i don't know if there have been homes affected. we'll know this in the next few hours. in the meantime, solidarity is what we have to focus on. >> that was the french president, francois hollande coming out with the confirmation of the plane crash that had occurred a couple of hours ago on his country's soil. stay with us here at al jazeera. we will have more in just a minute or so to take you through the next couple of hours and of course bring you every detail as soon as we get it. we've got our correspondents in france and germany covering all
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only on al jazeera america >> an airbus a320 belonging to german wings crashes in southern france. >> hello i'm live from doha. we're continuing with our breaking news, coverage of the crash in southern france. the french transport minister confirmed there are no survivors of that germanwings plane crash flight knife 525 that's the flight number that went down in the provence region. 142 passengers and six crew members were known to be on the plane traveling from barcelona to düsseldorf.


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