The Airbus A320 crashed in the southern French Alps close to Digne-les-Bains, in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and it is believed that all the passengers and the crew are feared dead.
In a TV statement, President François Hollande said there was no chance anyone could have survived the tragic crash. He said the plane came down in a remote area that is difficult to reach.
Airline Germanwings later confirmed that 150 people were aboard the tragic flight – 144 passengers and six crew. Earlier reports had said the plane was carrying 148 people.
It is believed that most of the passengers were German, Spanish and Turkish. Spanish authorities have already confirmed that there were 45 Spaniards on board.
The plane was flying between Barcelona and Düsseldorf when it came down, near the town of Barcelonette, police and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation have said.
The flight took off at 10.01am from Barcelona and was due to arrive at Düsseldorf at 11.49am. But it disappeared from radar screens at 11am.
It is the first civil airliner crash on French soil since the Concorde tragedy near Paris in the year 2000, and the worst air tragedy in France since 1981, when 180 people on board were killed when a passenger plane crashed into mountains on the island of Corsica.
Reports say that two helicopters from France’s aviation police (DGAC) spotted debris near Prads-Haute-Bléone, between Digne-les-Bains and Barcelonnette.
The French transport minister said that due to the crash site not being accessible by road, emergency crews and air investigators can only reach the site by helicopter.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve was heading to the region.
Following the crash, air traffic controllers have abandoned a planned walkout which had been due to start tomorrow.