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FRANCE

Germanwings A320 crash probe 'not focusing on terrorism'

Debris of the Germanwings A320 scattered on the mountainside
Debris of the Germanwings A320 scattered on the mountainside Reuters TV/Pool

French investigators into the Germanwings A320 air crash in the French Alps are not focussing on terrorism as an explanation, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday.

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"The debris from the plane is spread over one and a half hectares, which is a significant area because the shock was significant but it shows that the plane did not appear to have exploded," Bernard Cazeneuve told French radio station RTL on Wednesday morning.

A terrorist attack is "not the theory we're focusing on", he said, although "all theories must be carefully examined until we have the results of the inquiry".

The plane's black box has arrived at the Paris headquarters of France's air safety authoritiy the BEA, Transport Minister Alain Vidalies told Europe 1 radio.

It is damaged but should provide some information, the minister said.

"If there are voices, fairly quickly. If sounds have to be anaysed, that could take several weeks but this is work that could give the explanation."

Investigators set off for the site from a nearby airport in helicopters at about 8.30am.

The rocky and steep terrain making landing extremely difficult but they were to start sifting through the debris of the Airbus, which smashed into the mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.

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