There is hope that a current examination of one of the recorders belonging to the aircraft that Tuesday will help to uncover what happened to the 24-year-old plane -- which had its last safety inspection on Monday -- Germanwings' managing director, Thomas Winkelmann, said Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Winkelmann said that the plane had left Barcelona at 10:01a.m. local time and that on board were 144 passengers, including two babies, and a total of 6 crew members, two of whom were the pilots.
He said that one minute after the plane reached its cruising height of 38,000 feet it started descending, and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes in total, he said.
"Contact between the airplane and French radar and French flight controllers was lost at 10.53 am (local time) at a height of around 6,000 feet. The plane then crashed," Winkelmann said.
There was no indication that the crash was due to terrorism, the White House said Tuesday. The captain of the plane, Germanwings' Winkelmann said, had worked for the company for more than 10 years and had clocked up 6,000 flight hours on the Airbus A320 model.
Alder believed it was unusual for no distress signal to be sent by the pilot, however.
"I'm an examiner and instructor for the Airbus A320 plane and part of the processes you go through if you have an abnormality or emergency is to alert Air Traffic Control (ATC) of your problem because quite often they can give you assistance."
"So an eight-minute period of time with no communication," he said, was "unusual" although he did not believe a terrorist attack was likely, saying that would be "very speculative."