Germanwings crash: Swedish football team saved by last-minute plane change

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - A Swedish third division football team booked on the doomed Germanwings flight that crashed on Tuesday in the French Alps escaped death by changing flights at the last minute, the team said.

The Dalkurd FF team from Borlaenge, in central Sweden, was booked to fly home to Sweden on the budget carrier after a trip to Catalonia.

The Airbus A320, carrying 144 passengers and six crew from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, crashed in mountainous terrain in south-eastern France killing all 150 on board.

But upon arrival at Barcelona airport, the team decided the layover in Duesseldorf would be too long so they re-booked themselves onto three other flights flying via Zurich and Munich.

"To all those who have tried to contact us in the past few hours we are home and we are fine. It was another plane. May they rest in peace," goalkeeper Frank Pettersson wrote on Twitter.

Sporting director Adil Kizil told daily Aftonbladet the team had a very close call.

"We were supposed to be on that plane."

"There were four planes that left around the same time and that flew north over the Alps. Four planes and we had players on three of them. You can say we were very, very lucky," he said.

Dalkurd FF is the Kurdish community's club in Sweden, and is followed by supporters from the Kurdish diaspora around the world.

The dead are believed to include Germans, Spaniards, probably Turks, and at least one Belgian national.