Germanwings jet didn't issue mayday: French aviation authority

PARIS (REUTERS) - A Germanwings jetliner that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday did not issue a distress call during its rapid descent, France's aviation regulator said.

"The aircraft did not itself make a distress call but it was the combination of the loss of radio contact and the aircraft's descent which led the controller to implement the distress phase," a spokesman for the DGAC authority said.

The "distress" phase is the third and most serious of three stages of alerts used to help coordinate rescue efforts when an aircraft is considered in difficulty.

Earlier, the DGAC had said the aircraft issued a distress call at 1047 local time (0947 GMT) while descending from 38,000 feet to 5,000 feet.