Jet had 8-minute descent before crashing; 150 feared dead

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Jet had 8-minute descent before crashing; 150 feared dead (Image 1)

(NBC NEWS) - The German passenger jet that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning, likely killing all 150 people aboard, had gone into an 8-minute descent before crashing, the airline's CEO says. 

Germanwings flight 4U 9525 had just reached its cruising elevation en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it went into a long descent and crashed near Digne at 11:20 a.m. local time, the Lufthansa-owned budget airline's CEO said. 

It's not clear what caused the descent or crash. Debris from the plane has been found, but because of the remote location in the mountains, search and rescue operations were expected to be long and arduous. 

The plane, a 24-year-old Airbus A320, was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the crash "harrowing news," and French President Francois Hollande said there were likely "no survivors." 

Those on the plane were German, Spanish and Turkish, Hollande added, and no French people were aboard.

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