Malaysia Airlines tweets condolences to family, friends of Germanwings crash victims

Malaysia Airlines was quick to post its condolences to the family and friends of victims of the Germanwings early Wednesday morning.

An Airbus A320 operated by the budget carrier of Germany's Lufthansa crashed in a remote area of the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board in France's worst aviation disaster in decades.

MAS, still reeling from the crashes of two of its planes last year, wrote on its Twitter page: "Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of those onboard Flight 4U9525. We are with you."

Germanwings said the Airbus A320 plunged for eight minutes into an inaccessible mountain area in southeastern France. French aviation officials said the plane had made no distress call before the crash near the ski resort of Barcelonnette.

The plane, carrying 144 mainly Spanish and German passengers - including two babies and 16 German school children - and six crew, was travelling from Barcelona to the western German city of Duesseldorf when it came down.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there were no survivors.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "shocked" by news of the accident and would travel to the crash site, while Spanish King Felipe VI cut short his state visit to France after news of the tragedy.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would visit the scene on Wednesday.

MAS flight MH17, a Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over a rebel-held area of Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing 298 people, including 193 Dutch. Kiev and pro-Russian rebels exchange blame for the deadly attack.

On March 8 last year, MAS Flight 370 disappeared with 227 passengers from 15 nations and 12 Malaysian crew members, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

While debris from massive searches has never been found, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation has declared its disappearance an accident and said all 239 people aboard the Boeing 777 were now presumed dead.

- With additional information from AFP

zach@sph.com.sg