Merkel to visit French plane crash site on Wednesday

Merkel to visit French plane crash site on Wednesday
A German-owned Airbus A320 plane that crashed in the French Alps on March 24, 2015 had 148 people onboard including six crew members, a civil aviation official said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was going Wednesday to the French Alpine region where a German passenger plane crashed, killing all 150 people on board.

She said her foreign and transport ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Alexander Dobrindt, were heading to the area, in a mountain range known as "Les Trois Eveches", later on Tuesday.

"I myself will travel there tomorrow to get an impression and speak with the local authorities," she told reporters in Berlin. Merkel described the news as "a shock which has plunged us into deep mourning in Germany, France and Spain." While the exact cause of the crash was still not known, it would be wrong to speculate, the German leader continued.

"What concerns me now is the extent of the suffering, which this catastrophe has brought to so many people. My thoughts and condolences, and those of the entire government, go out to the people who have lost their lives, including many compatriots," Merkel said.

Germanwings said a total of 67 Germans were believed to have been on board. The suffering of the victims' families was "immeasurable" and everything was being done to ensure they received help and support, Merkel added.

She said she had spoken on the phone with French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. "We agreed that our countries will help each other in every possible way to find out the cause of this catastrophe."

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