Two Americans were on board the doomed German jetliner that crashed into the French Alps early Tuesday, killing 150 people, officials said.
Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann told reporters in Cologne Wednesday the airline’s current information is that 72 Germans and 35 Spanish citizens and the two Americans were on the plane. He said the airline is still trying to contact relatives of 27 other victims. Sixteen passengers were from eight other countries, including Australia and Israel.
Information on the passengers came as France’s Interior Minister said Wednesday that the recovered cockpit voice recorder from Germanwings Flight 9525 had been damaged when the plane crashed, but added that it could still be “usable” in the investigation, while another top French official said authorities were focused on what happened in the final seconds before air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane.
Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio that the recorder “is damaged and must be reconstituted in the coming hours in order to be useable.” The recorder was found hours after the Airbus A320 went down in a remote part of the French Alps Tuesday morning. The cockpit voice recorder could provide vital clues about the condition of the pilots during the plane’s final plunge from a cruising height of 38,000 feet to around 6,000 feet just prior to the crash.