By Jonathan Davies

A Germanwings airliner has crashed in the French Alps.

The Airbus 320 plane crashed near Barcelonnette and Digne in France and was believed to have been carrying 142 passengers and six crew members.

The plane was travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

French President Francois Hollande said: "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors."

Mr Hollande said he will speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel shortly.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was sent to the crash site and said debris had been spotted at an altitude of 2,000 metres.

Germanwings is the low budget airline owned by German airline giant Lufthansa, which is currently in dispute with pilots who went on strike last week over reforms to retirement policies.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr said on Twitter that “if our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa".

Lufthansa's share price fell by more than 4% as details more information surfaced, but have since recovered somewhat.