Germanwings Alps crash 'a tragedy on our soil': president

PRESIDENT Francois Hollande has described the crash of an Airbus A320 in southern France as "a tragedy on our soil".

All those on board the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf are feared dead, while a police helicopter has located the crash site in a remote section of the French Alps.

In a live address in the wake of the incident, Mr Hollande said he intended to investigate the circumstances of the crash and declared a "mourning period".

Here is the president's statement in full:

"An aeroplane of the Germanwings company has just crashed near to Digne.

"I want to express all my solidarity with the families of the victims. A counselling unit will be established to provide psychological support.

"I will discuss the incident with (Germany's) Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish King Philip VI, who is visiting us today. As we wait, our first feeling should be one of solidarity.

"I will have meetings with Chancellor Merkel because there were a number of German victims, and I will also contact the King of Spain.

"This is an air tragedy and we will try to understand the reasons and causes of the accident, and obviously we will give the concerned authorities as well as the victims support.

 "This is a mourning period, because this is a tragedy that has happened on our territory. I intend to find out if there were other consequences of the accident ... and we will find out more in the hours to come."

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