A flight operated by German carrier Lufthansa's budget airline, Germanwings, has crashed in the French Alps with 150 people on board.

French President Francois Hollande said that no survivors are expected and he called the crash "a tragedy that has occurred on our land."

The plane was roughly 50 minutes into its flight in clear weather from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when pilots issued a distress call as it dropped from a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to around, 6,800 feet, Fox News reported.

It was over the town of Barcelonnette in the Alpes de Haute Provence region, which is about 65 miles north of Nice.

According to the Associated Press, the Airbus 320's wreckage was spotted shortly afterward in a remote area of the mountains at around 6,500 feet.

Search and rescue teams are headed to the crash site.


UPDATE,10:45a ET: Germanwings management board spokesman Thomas Winkelmann said during a press conference that the captain of the plane had over 10 years of flight experience and had more than 6,000 flight hours on this model of Airbus. Winkelmann stated that the plane's last routine check took place yesterday in Dusseldorf, conducted by Lufthansa technicians.

Winkelmann also said that the crew of the plane did not issue a distress call before the crash.

Winkelmann revealed that the plane included 67 German citizens, but that the figure may change when the passenger list is checked with relatives. He also said that two babies were also aboard the plane, which last had contact with French radar services at 10:53 a.m.

Winkelmann said that "our prayers and thoughts are exclusively with the victims." He called it a "tragic, very sad day for Germanwings and also the whole Lufthansa family."

Hundreds of search and rescue crew members are now at the crash site.


UPDATE,11:11a ET: Greg Palkot reported on "Happening Now" that in addition to the 67 German citizens, 45 Spanish citizens were reportedly onboard the aircraft.

Palkot said there are strong indications that 16 students and two teachers from a Dusseldorf school were on the plane, returning from a school field trip.


UPDATE, 11:30a ET: Le Dauphine, a local newspaper in France, has this first image of the crash site.


UPDATE, 1:10p ET: A "black box" from the plane has been recovered by search teams in a remote section of the French Alps, according to French officials. 

Greg Palkot reported on "Happening Now" that bodies and debris are scattered all around the crash area. He said that nearly 600 rescue teams and police officers are involved in the recovery efforts. 

Palkot also said that it has been confirmed that 16 German high school students and two of their teachers were aboard the plane.


UPDATE, 3:41p ET: Shepard Smith reported that the flight crew did not make contact with air traffic officials for eight minutes as the plane descended from the sky and crashed.

He said that it's extremely rare for an airplane to crash while it is flying at a "cruising speed."

Officials are examining the recovered flight data recorder to try and determine what went wrong on the flight. Search and rescue teams have not found any survivors. 

Smith also reported that witnesses say the largest pieces of debris are the size of a small car, because "everything is pulverized."

President Obama expressed condolences to the families of the victims at a White House press conference alongside Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Europe, especially the people of Germany and Spain following a terrible airplane crash in France," Obama said. "It’s particularly heartbreaking because it apparently includes the loss of so many children, some of them infants.”

The State Department is working to confirm how many Americans may have been on the plane, Obama said. 

Stay with Fox News Insider for more updates.

 

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Crying people arrive at Barcelona airport in Spain, Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
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A woman cries as she arrives at Barcelona airport in Spain, Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
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Rescue workers prepare at Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, as search-and-rescue teams struggle to reach the remote crash site of Germanwings passenger plane.
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A gendarme walks away as a helicopter takes off from Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps.
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Rescue workers wait in Seyne les Alpes, French Alps.
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People comfort each other as they arrive at the Barcelona airport in Spain.