Scenes from tragic plane crash in the French Alps

  • Relatives of the victims of the air crash visit the memorial in Le Vernet, south-eastern France, March 27, 2015.
  • German police officers stand in front of the house believed to belong to the parents of crashed Germanwings flight 4U 9524 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in Montabaur, March 26, 2015.
  • French authorities installed a monument to honor the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front the mountain where the plane crashed on March 26, 2015 in Le Vernet, France.
  • A general view of the area where Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashed as as friends and relatives arrive at a reception centre on March 26, 2015 in Le Vernet, France. 
  • Relatives of the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash victims attend a wreath-laying and remembrance ceremony as rescuers (Front) hold flags of the passengers’ nationalities, in the small village of Le Vernet, on March 26, 2015.
  • French soldiers stand guard at a gymnasium as they wait for the arrival of families of the victims of flight 4U9525 on March 26, 2015 in Seyne, France.
  • A coach transporting family members and relatives of the victims is escorted by French Gendarmes as they arrive in Seyne-les-Alpes near to the crash site of an Airbus A320 in the French Alps, March 26, 2015.
  • Rescuers prepare to board an helicopter of the French Gendarmerie on an air base in Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps on March 26, 2015 two days after a Germanwings Airbus A320 smashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
  • Search and rescue workers make their way through debris at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps, above the town of Seyne-les-Alpes, southeastern France on March 26, 2015.
  • In this handout image provided by French Interior Ministry, the Rescue workers and gendarmerie continue their search operation near the site of the Germanwings plane crash near the French Alps on March 26, 2015 in La Seyne les Alpes, France. 
  • Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, March 26, 2015.
  • French President Francois Hollande (L), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (R) speak with rescue workers at the crash site of a Germanwings jetliner, in Seyne-les-Alpes, on March 25, 2015.
  • A search and rescue worker at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps, above the town of Seyne-les-Alpes, southeastern France, on March 25, 2015.
  • French military personnel make their way up the mountain as part of operations as they advance to the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 25, 2015. French investigators will sift through wreckage on Wednesday for clues into why a German Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed into an Alpine mountainside, killing all 150 people on board including 16 schoolchildren returning from an exchange trip to Spain. 
  • Search and rescue workers at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps, above the town of Seyne-les-Alpes, southeastern France, on March 25, 2015.
  • Helicopters of the French gendarmerie and emergency services fly over Seyne-les-Alpes as they resume works to recover the bodies and the remains of the Airbus A320 that crashed the previous day in the French Alps on March 25, 2015.
  • Students stand in front of candles in front of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany on March 24, 2015. 
  • A rescue helicopter from the French Securite Civile flies over the French Alps during a rescue operation after the crash of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 24, 2015.
  • Wreckage and debris lie on the mountain slopes after the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 over the French Alps, France, on March 24, 2015.
  • French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, flanked by Digne prefect Patricia Willaert, is sheltered from the rain upon his arrival in Seyne, south-eastern France, on March 24, 2015, near the site where a Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps. A German airliner crashed near a ski resort in the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people on board, in the worst plane disaster in mainland France in four decades. 
  • A French rescue helicopter from the French Gendarmerie hovers above a field where Alpine rescue forces gather in front of the French Alps during a rescue operation next to the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 24, 2015. An Airbus plane operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline, en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, crashed in a remote snowy area of the French Alps crashed in a remote snowy area of the French Alps on Tuesday killing all 150 on board including 16 schoolchildren. 
  • Crying people arrive at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 24, 2015, after a Germanwings passenger jet carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps region as it traveled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. 
  • Students embrace in front of lit candles outside the Josef-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in Haltern am See, March 24, 2015. Students and teachers at a small-town German high school broke out in tears when they realised that 16 classmates and two teachers were on board an ill-fated Germanwings airplane that crashed in France on Tuesday on a flight home to Duesseldorf. 
  • Crying people arrive at Barcelona airport in Spain, March 24, 2015. A Germanwings passenger jet carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps region as it traveled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. 
  • French emergency services workers (back) and members of the French gendarmerie gather in Seyne, south-eastern France, on March 24, 2015, near the site where a Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps.
  • French Police and Gendarmerie Alpine rescue units gather on a field as they prepare to reach the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, in the French Alps, March 24, 2015.
  • Family members of people involved in a crashed plane comfort each other as they arrive at the Barcelona airport in Spain, March 24, 2015. A Germanwings passenger jet carrying more than 140 people crashed in the French Alps region as it traveled from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. 
  • A family of people involved in a crashed plane arrives at the Barcelona airport in Spain, March 24, 2015.
  • A relative (C) of passengers of the Germanwings plane crashed in French Alps arrives at the Terminal 2 of the Barcelona El Prat airport on March 24, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.
  • A worker from a Swissport, a Service Company who is handling for Germanwings airlines, works inside an office in the Barcelona airport in Spain, March 24, 2015.

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Updated

The co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings plane appears to have “intentionally” brought the plane down while his captain was locked out of the cockpit and banging to be let back in, prosecutors said Thursday.

First Officer Andreas Lubitz, 28, was alone at the controls of the Airbus A320 as it began its rapid descent, Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference.

Passengers’ cries were heard on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder in the moments just before the plane slammed into the French Alps, Brice said.

“Banging” sounds also were audible, he said, suggesting the captain was trying to force his way back into the cockpit. However, the reinforced cockpit door was locked from the inside and could not be overridden, even with a coded entry panel.

“If he had been able to open this door, the captain would have done it,” Brice said.

Lubitz, a German national from the town of Montabaur, “didn’t say a word” during the descent, according to Brice, who said no distress signal or radio call was made.

Germanwings Flight 4U9525 left Barcelona at 9:55 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) on Tuesday en route for Dusseldorf with 144 passengers and six crew members on board. Three Americans were among the 150 people killed in the disaster, whose victims included sixteen high school children on an exchange visit, babies, businessmen and two opera singers.

Read more at NBCNews.com with reporting by Carlo AngererAlexander Smith and Alastair Jamieson

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

 

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