World News

People Flock to See Jesus' Face on Hillside in Colombia


iStock/Thinkstock(BOGOTA, Colombia) -- Many say you can see the face of Jesus in nature, but locals in a small town in Colombia are claiming that literally.Both the faithful and opportunistic are flocking to see what they claim is an image of Jesus' face in a hillside in the town of San Francisco in the Colombian province of Putumayo, according to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.The site is in southern Colombia, close to the border with Ecuador.The formation was discovered after a small landslide in the ravine."If you believe in Jesus you will see your image," Ximena Rosero Arango, a visitor to the site, told El Tiempo, according to a translation by Discovery.com.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

In Joseph Kony Hunt, US Courts Defectors with Pop Music


STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Three and a half years after President Obama sent 100 special operations troops to Africa to help root out Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony -- so far unsuccessfully -- the broader U.S.-supported international anti-LRA team has resorted to using a truly unstoppable force against the alleged war criminal: pop music.Blasted over helicopter loudspeakers buzzing over the jungle and often on the radio, the song “Come Home” by popular Ugandan pop star Chameleone urges Kony’s followers to turn their back on the purportedly crazed leader. Chameleone composed the song in 2013 at the behest of U.S. embassy officers who were looking for innovative ways to reach would-be defectors, according to Marty Regan, a field representative for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Uganda.Chameleone told ABC News he wrote the song to try and “cajole” Kony, who he says is a fan, “out of the bush.” In the song, he urges LRA members, “Your mother, father and family are waiting for you…do not suffer out there thinking nobody cares about you…I am simply waiting for my brothers in the LRA to come home. You are forgiven.” Regan echoed the song’s sentiments: “The message that it conveys is this: you were abducted, this is not your fault, this is your land, and you are welcome back here.”The pop music initiative is part of a concentrated effort between the U.S. and its partners to reach out to local communities and develop reintegration programs for defectors. In addition to playing “Come Home” on the radio and over the helicopter loudspeakers, the program uses radio interviews, thousands of air-dropped leaflets and posters to reach out to communities.The public relations effort, coupled with increased military pressure against the LRA forces, is what Regan attributes to a drastic decrease in LRA numbers. According to Regan, the LRA force is thought to be down to around 150 members, a far cry from the thousand militants it used to command in 2009.Although the LRA is now in what Regan deemed “survival mode,” resorting to banditry and looting rather than mass abductions and murders, the memories of the atrocities the LRA committed is enough to strike fear in the local communities.“It has not been long since they were a horrible force there,” said Regan. “As long as Joseph Kony is at large, while their ability to reconstitute themselves is questionable, the fact that he’s still out there is of concern.”The State Department says that as the LRA’s leader, Kony is wanted for “among other acts, forced enlistment of children as soldiers through abduction, sexual enslavement, and intentionally directing attacks against civilian populations.” An INTERPOL Red Notice says Kony has been charged with 12 counts of “crimes against humanity” and another 21 “war crimes.”Speaking in 2012 about his decision the previous October to send the 100 U.S. “advisors” after Kony, Obama told ABC News, “None of these decisions are easy, but those who are familiar with the Lord’s Resistance Army and their leader, Mr. Kony, know that these are some of the most vicious killers.”“They terrorize villages. They take children into custody and turn them into child soldiers. They engage in rape and slaughter in villages they go through. They have been the scourge on the Uganda and that entire region, East Africa,” Obama said then.The State Department’s use of pop music against the terror group was reported in the organization’s regular State Magazine. Regan is quoted in an article there as saying that despite the atrocities the LRA has committed, most defectors seem surprisingly “normal.”“I have met with a number of LRA defectors. When you meet them, you are almost taken aback by how ‘normal’ they appear,” Regan said. “They appear to be humble, regular people. While you can sympathize with all of them who ended up in the LRA after being abducted at a young age, many of the defectors were long time fighters who murdered, mutilated and raped innocent people.”The magazine said that 250 LRA members are believed to have defected since 2012. A State Department fact sheet put out the same year said that since the year 2000, more than 12,000 “former LRA fighters and abductees” have left the group and have been reintegrated through a local amnesty program.Millions of Americans first heard about Kony and his group’s purported atrocities when a 30-minute web video called “Kony 2012” went viral that year. As of this publication, the video has over 100 million views.The U.S. government is offering $5 million for information leading to Kony’s arrest or conviction.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Co-Pilot May Have Had Hidden Illness; No Suicide Note Found


Adam Berry/Getty Images(DUESSELDORF, Germany) — There are indications that the co-pilot of the Germanwings aircraft that crashed into the French Alps Tuesday hid an illness from his employers, German prosecutors said in a statement Friday morning.In addition, a search of the home of the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, yielded no suicide note, and there is no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash, said the prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf, where Lubitz lived.The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. French President Francois Hollande said there were "apparently no survivors."Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said in a news conference Thursday that Lubitz appeared to want to "destroy the plane," purposely locked the captain out of the airbus' cockpit and accelerated the descent manually.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Australia Museum Offers Nude Art Tours of Exhibition for Exhibitionists


National Gallery of Australia(CANBERRA, Australia) — There's plenty of beautiful nude art worth viewing. But is it worth viewing art in the nude?If ticket sales are any indication, it seems so. For three days the National Gallery of Australia will offer nude tours of a current exhibit are already sold out.Nude tours of "James Turell: A Retrospective" will take place from April 1-3.The nude tours are for guests 18 and older only. Participants, according to the National Gallery's web site, will arrive and leave nude. They will be led by Stuart Ringholt, an Australian artist, who has led nude tours at Australia's Museum of Contemporary Art. Ringholt will also be nude, though other museum staff will be clothed. Following the tour, there will be a coffee and cocktail reception, also in the nude.Turell is an American artist whose medium is light. His works addresses light and perception and he is most-known for what's referred to as his "life's work."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saudis Lead Coalition Against Shiite Rebels in Yemen


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Saudi Arabia is leading a military offensive against the Shiite Houthi rebel group that has taken over large areas of Yemen while Egypt says it's prepared to join the Saudis and other Arab nations in what's been deemed "Operation Decisive Storm."Saudi military jets have undertaken bombing raids against Houthi positions in Yemen's capital of Sanaa and other cities while a force of 150,000 soldiers stands ready for an imminent invasion.Numerous deaths have been reported, including many civilian casualties.Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled his compound in Aden which came under siege by the Houthis, arrived in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh Thursday.Hadi is supported by the White House, which has seen its counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula severely hampered by the rise of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.The offensive is designed to first weaken the Houthis and then send in ground forces with the goal of forcing the rebel group back to the negotiating table for a power-sharing agreement with the current Yemeni government. The U.S., meanwhile, is offering no direct military assistance but is providing the Saudis and their allies with technical and logistical support.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Iraqi Forces Repel ISIS Counterattacks


Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Iraqi forces were able to repel a number of ISIS attacks this week, despite the fact that much of the attention has been on the Iraqi attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants.The U.S.-led coalition said Thursday that Iraqi Security Forces defeated four separate ISIS attacks on March 24. The attacks took place near Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah. In the attack on Habbaniyah, the coalition says ISIS "unsuccessfully employed two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and 12 suicide bombers." They were believe to have been attempting to retake a bridge.The coalition says that ISIS gained no ground in their attacks. "The tables are turning," Col. Wayne Marotto, coalition spokesman, said. "ISF is gaining ground and their capabilities continue to improve."On Wednesday, the U.S. agreed to begin offering support to Iraqi Security Forces in an effort to reclaim Tikrit from ISIS.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pope Francis Surprises Homeless Visitors During Private Vatican Tour


neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- The Vatican opened its doors Thursday to the homeless of St. Peter's Square, allowing the people who usually only see its steps outside to observe its beauty inside, and be greeted by Pope Francis himself.A group of 150 homeless men and women took a guided tour of the museum and gardens and received dinner in the Vatican Museum’s cafeteria. They also were invited to pray in the Sistine Chapel, where the pope made an unannounced visit.“This is everyone’s house: it’s your house. The door is always open for all,” Francis reportedly said as he shook their hands.The Vatican says the pontiff spent 20 minutes with the visitors, meeting each one individually. He asked them to pray for him, saying, “I need prayers from people like you."“It was a great surprise meeting him,” said Graziella, one of the homeless visitors, to the Italian news agency ANSA. "The pope was smiling a lot but above all I was struck by his humility. Who else would have done this? Nobody. I always go to church but I have never experienced such humanity and humility."The tour passed the Casa Santa Marta, where Pope Francis chose to live instead of the stately Papal apartment, and included a stop at a recently opened room in the museum that houses the pope’s historical carriages.The invitation is just one of a string of actions taken by the pontiff to reach out to the poor. To mark his birthday in December, Pope Francis had sleeping bags distributed to the homeless in and around St. Peter’s Square. In February, the Vatican built showers and hired barbers for the homeless around the square.And in mid-June, Francis will lunch with some of Turin’s homeless on a visit there, the Vatican announced Wednesday.Pope Francis’ outreach to the poor echoes one of the central messages of his papacy. "Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent," Francis said in 2013.The Vatican has called on the homeless to help distribute gospels or prayer booklets to the faithful in the square on Sundays during the Pope’s noontime prayer.The tour and dinner was organized by the Office of Papal Charities, which regularly distributes meals to the homeless who live in Rome.The Vatican said Francis did not want any official photos or videos taken of the event.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Drops Anti-ISIS Leaflets over Syria


US Dept of Defense(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The Pentagon has released a copy of a leaflet that was dropped over ISIS' defacto capital in Syria earlier this month.The leaflet drop is part of the U.S. military’s psychological operations to show potential ISIS recruits that they are part of a losing effort.Some 60,000 of the leaflets were dropped over Ar Raqqa, Syria early on the morning of March 16, officials said.The leaflets were dropped by a single U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter aircraft carrying a PDU-5B leaflet canister, according to the Pentagon.Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Thursday that the drop was intended to dissuade potential ISIS recruits from joining the group."The message of this leaflet is if you allow yourself to be recruited by Daesh you will find yourself in a meat grinder,” said Warren, using the Islamic acronym for the group.The leaflet shows a room identified by a sign with the arrow as a "Daesh Recruiting Office," and the meat grinder is labelled "Daesh."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tikrit Offensive: Iranian General Steps Out, US Steps In


iStock/Thinkstock(TIKRIT, Iraq) -- The U.S. agreement to conduct airstrikes to support the Iraqi offensive to retake Tikrit was contingent on Iranian-backed militias pulling out of the operation, the commander of U.S. Central Command said Thursday.Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Lloyd Austin said the Shia militias, led by Iranian Quds Commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani, had left the area around Tikrit before U.S. forces provided air support in the mostly-stalled offensive against Islamic State forces holding the city. U.S. officials had estimated that as many as 18,000 of the 23,000 Iraqi forces in the offensive were Shiite militia fighters.Austin said the clearing of ISIS fighters in Tikrit would be left to 4,000 Iraqi Security Forces, mostly special operations troops and federal police who would be supported by U.S. airstrikes.The Pentagon announced Thursday morning that U.S. forces had launched 17 airstrikes near Tikrit, destroying various ISIS positions at the request of the Iraqi government.Speaking from his personal experience in Iraq, Austin explained why he would never work with Shia militias.“I’d just like to highlight sir, after three tours in Iraq commanding troops in Iraq who were brutalized by some of these Shia militias I will not and I hope we never coordinate or cooperate with the Shia militias,” Austin said.Austin took a dig at the Shia militia themselves, noting that the offensive to retake Tikrit had stalled specifically because they were poorly led.“It’s the way the forces went about trying to do this,” Austin said. “The forces were not controlled by the government of Iraq, there was no coherent scheme of maneuvers, command and control, and didn’t have precision fires to support this effort.”Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, commander of the anti-ISIS coalition Gen. John Allen explained to lawmakers in the House Foreign Affairs committee that the U.S. only came to aid as a result of the Iraqi government’s request.“I don’t believe at all that we’re, in our efforts, at this moment, saving or attempting to salvage a failed Iranian strategy,” Allen said. “As the operation unfolded, [Iraqi] Prime Minister [Haider al] Abadi and members of the Iraqi security forces requested U.S. and coalition support for the final phase of the operation ultimately to liberate the city of Tikrit."Allen was then asked to answer why Iran’s Quds Force commander, who directed Shia militias during the Iraq War responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops, wasn’t himself targeted in the airstrikes.“My question is, is if we were conducting air operations, would somebody like Qassem Suleimani be a target?” asked Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida.Allen told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee the U.S. had no intention of targeting Suleimani.“We're in this to assist the Iraqi government in dealing with Daesh,” Allen said. “That's the reason that we're there, not to go to war with Iran.” Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS.World News Videos | US News VideosFollow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Third American Victim in Germanwings Crash Identified


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The third American victim who died in the Germanwings plane crash has been identified as Robert Oliver.Oliver, 37, was an American citizen born in Barcelona, Spain.The first two Americans on board were named on Wednesday as mother-daughter pair Yvonne and Emily Selke.Yvonne Selke lived in Virginia and worked at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, largely working with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Emily Selke graduated from Drexel University in 2013 as a music industry major.Among the 144 passengers on board were 16 German high school students and their two teachers who were traveling back from a language exchange trip in Spain.Six crew members were also on board, including co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who investigators believe kept his captain outside of the cockpit as he deliberately forced the plane to descend into the French Alps.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What We Know About Germanwings Flight's Final 10 Minutes


Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Details about the final 10 minutes of the Germanwings flight that crashed Tuesday in the French Alps are becoming a bit clearer Thursday.Audio from inside the cockpit indicates co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, a 28-year-old German citizen, was in control of the Airbus A320. That's according to Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, who spoke at a news conference Thursday."The intention was to destroy the plane," Robin said.Here's a breakdown of what we know about Flight 9525's last moments, based on information released by authorities:At 10:30 a.m., the plane is flying at 38,000 feet.At some point around this time, the pilot is heard asking the co-pilot to take over the controls. A chair is heard moving and a door is heard closing.At 10:31 a.m., the plane starts losing altitude.The co-pilot is alone at the controls, and the accelerated descent is made manually. The pilot is heard knocking on the door and asking over the speaker to enter the cockpit. There is no response from the co-pilot.The plane’s altitude drops down to roughly 6,000 feet.Air traffic control can be heard calling, but there is no response. The pilot is heard “violently” banging on the door, as he tries to get back into the cockpit, according to Robin. The co-pilot is heard breathing until the final moment of impact, leading officials to believe he was alive until the crash.At 10:40 a.m., the plane crashes, and the radar contact is lost.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Andreas Lubitz, Germanwings Co-Pilot, Received Training in Arizona


Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The co-pilot who was at the controls when the Germanwings flight crashed this week received some of his training in America, the airline's CEO revealed Thursday.Andreas Lubitz, 28, was a German citizen and started working for Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa at a flight training center outside of Phoenix in 2008, company officials said.The facility, called Airline Training Center Arizona, was owned by Lufthansa and is used by its pilots in addition to other training locations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, officials said.A spokeswoman for Germanwings told ABC News that he also received some of his training in Bremen, Germany.In spite of undergoing some of his training in 2008, he reportedly took breaks during the process and only became an official Germanwings pilot in 2013."Six years ago there had been an interruption to his training," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said at a news conference Thursday. "We checked his skills and his competence and then he went back to training school. After that he was successful."He went on to explain that the interruption lasted for a few months but he did not elaborate on the reason and said it was something that could happen regularly in their program.Spohr said Lubitz passed training school "with flying colors.""He was fit in all areas, 100 percent," Spohr said.He had 630 hours of flying experience by the time he was at the controls during Tuesday's fatal crash into the French Alps, only 100 hours of which were on the same model plane, the Airbus A320, officials said.U.S. law enforcement officials have offered cooperation on the investigation."The FBI has offered assistance to our French partners, who are leading the investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525," the agency said in a statement Thursday. "We stand ready to fulfill any requests for information or assistance by crash investigators, as we work with partner nations whose citizens were impacted by this tragedy."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Vatican Opens Doors to Homeless for Special Tour, Dinner


iStock/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- The Vatican will open its doors on Thursday to the homeless of St. Peters’ Square, allowing the people who usually only see its steps outside to observe its beauty inside.A group of 150 homeless men and women were invited to take a guided tour of the museum and gardens, participate in private prayer in the Sistine Chapel and receive a free dinner in the Vatican Museum’s cafeteria.The tour will pass the Casa Santa Marta, where Pope Francis has chosen to live instead of the stately Papal apartment, and include a stop at a recently opened room in the museum that houses the pope’s historical carriages.When the group reaches the Sistine Chapel for prayer, they will be the only ones there. ANSA reports the chapel, which contains Michelangelo’s fresco masterpieces, will close early to allow for the exclusive tour.The invitation is just one of a string of actions taken by the pontiff to reach out to the poor. To mark his birthday in December, Pope Francis had sleeping bags distributed to the homeless in and around St. Peter’s Square. In February, the Vatican built showers and hired barbers for the homeless around the square.And in mid-June, Francis will lunch with some of Turin’s homeless on a visit there, the Vatican announced Wednesday.Pope Francis’ outreach to the poor echo one of the central messages of his papacy."Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent," Francis said in 2013.The Vatican has called on the homeless to help distribute gospels or prayer booklets to the faithful in the square on Sundays during the pope’s noontime prayer.The tour and dinner was organized by the Office of Papal Charities, which regularly distributes meals to the homeless who live in Rome.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: How Co-Pilot Kept Captain Out of the Cockpit


iStock/Thinkstock(COLOGNE, Germany) -- The protocols that were put in place to stop an attacker from taking control of a plane were used against a captain by his co-pilot that resulted in the Germanwings crash in the French Alps, the airline's CEO suggested Thursday.The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, spoke on Thursday about the safeguards in place to separate the cockpit from the rest of the plane, saying that the co-pilot appears to have purposefully locked his colleague out in the minutes leading up to the fatal crash.CEO Carsten Spohr said that the Airbus A320 in question has a code on the outside of the door that will open it "electrically and automatically" but it can be stopped by whoever remains in the cockpit."This can be impeded by those in the cockpit by pressing a lever that says lock and the door will be closed for five minutes," Spohr said.The cockpit voice recorder was found in the wreckage and investigators have reportedly been able to hear the captain exiting the cockpit, leaving 28-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz at the controls.Tapping can be heard on the audio recording, progressing into louder banging, which is believed to be the captain trying to get back into the cockpit, Spohr said, noting that the company's planes had the doors to the cockpit reinforced so that access is not possible using force or weapons."Since the eleventh of September, the access to a cockpit has changed," Spohr said, referring to the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.Pilots and crew members know the code to get into the cockpit "by heart," Spohr said, suggesting that the co-pilot purposefully prevented the captain to get back inside.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: What We Know About the Co-Pilot


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MARSEILLE, France) -- The co-pilot who was at the controls of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps this week had logged relatively few hours, at least by U.S. standards, prior to the fatal flight.He has been identified by French authorities as German citizen Andreas Lubitz, 28, and his actions in the final minutes of the flight are believed to have caused the crash, Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said Thursday at a news conference.“The intention was to destroy the plane," Robin said, speaking mostly in French.An airline spokeswoman said Lubitz had 630 hours of flight experience and only 100 of those hours were on this particular model of plane, an Airbus A320. By comparison, a U.S. first officer would be required to have at least 1,500 hours of experience to get hired by an airline.Investigators have been able to listen to the audio recording from inside the cockpit and the captain can be heard leaving the cockpit and then tapping on the door to re-enter but being denied, Robin said.The banging on the door grows louder while the co-pilot can be heard breathing throughout, he added, suggesting he was not incapacitated before the Tuesday crash that left 150 people dead.Robin said the co-pilot had no reason not to allow the captain back into the cockpit and he should not have gone silent on the radio to air traffic control."When you commit suicide, you die alone,” Robin said in response to a question. “With 150 on the plane, I wouldn't call that suicide.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why NASA Plans to Grab Asteroid Chunk


NASA(NEW YORK) -- NASA wants to relocate a piece of an asteroid and tow it into orbit around the moon as part of a test of new technologies that could be used on a manned mission to Mars.The space agency had considered attempting to capture an entire asteroid, but instead said this week it would pluck a 13-foot boulder from one during an unmanned solar-powered space mission set for 2020.The rock will then be hauled for several years until it is placed in orbit around Earth's moon.In 2025, the space agency said it would then send two astronauts inside the Orion space capsule to explore the mini-asteroid.According to NASA's plan, the astronauts would take a spacewalk on the rock, documenting its surface and grabbing a fragment to bring back to Earth.The ambitious mission is a crucial test for the space agency as it prepares to one day send a crew to Mars.During the five-year Asteroid Redirect Mission, NASA is expected to gain more insight into robotic grabbing technologies, soft landings and allow astronauts to test suits that could be used for a deep space mission.NASA said it likely will not announce which asteroid it has targeted to be a part of the plan until 2019.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Co-Pilot Appeared to Want to 'Destroy the Plane,' Prosecutor Says


ABC News(MARSEILLE, France) — The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings plane appeared to want to "destroy the plane," Brice Robin, Public Prosecutor of Marseille, said Thursday.The co-pilot of the Germanwings airbus that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday had 630 hours of flight experience and had started working in 2013, an airline spokeswoman told ABC News.Germanwings would not provide any other information on the co-pilot's identity.One of the pilots may have been locked out of the cockpit, a senior military official involved in the investigation told The New York Times.The official said the audio on the cockpit voice recorder indicated one of the pilots was outside of the cockpit and unable to re-enter, according to the paper. The unnamed official described hearing the pilot unable to re-enter the cockpit and lightly knock on the door at first, before pounding on it."You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," he told the Times.ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.Investigators have not yet recovered the second black box from the Airbus A320, which crashed Tuesday in southern France while en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Germany. All 150 on board, including three Americans, are believed to have been killed.Earlier Wednesday, the director of the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) said an audio file from one of the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder, had been found, but did not say whether voices were heard on the recording.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"New York Times" Report: Germanwings Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One of the pilots of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps may have been locked out of the cockpit, a senior military official involved in the investigation told The New York Times.The official said that the audio on the cockpit voice recorder indicated one of the pilots was outside of the cockpit and unable to re-enter, according to the paper. The unnamed official described hearing the pilot unable to re-enter the cockpit, lightly knocking on the door at first -- before pounding on it."You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," he told the Times.ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.Investigators have not yet recovered the second black box from the Airbus A320, which crashed Tuesday in Southern France while en route to Dusseldorf, Germany. All 150 on board, including three Americans, are believed to have been killed.Earlier Wednesday, the director of the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) said an audio file from one of the the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder, had been found, but did not say whether voices were heard on the recording.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to US Announces Airstrikes Against Houthi Rebels in Yem


Scott Rothstein/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said on Wednesday that his nation had begun airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen."The use of force is always the last resort and it is with great reluctance that we took this step," al-Jubeir said. "We will do whatever it takes in order to protect villages and the government of Yemen from falling and from facing any dangers from outside militia."The Saudi ambassador also told reporters that a coalition of more than 10 nations has agreed to participate in operations meant "to prevent Yemen from falling at the hands of the Houthis.""Rather than engage in peaceful dialogue and in a peaceful transition to a stable and democratic Yemen they have always chosen the path of violence," al-Jubeir said of the Houthis.Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed that Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi left his residence on Wednesday. She did not have any further information on where Hadi had gone to. Houthi rebels were believed to have been advancing on the city of Aden, where Hadi was believed to have been.A statement from National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Wednesday reiterated the U.S.'s condemnation of the "ongoing military actions taken by the Houthis against the elected government of Yemen. Those actions, Meehan says, "have caused widespread instability and chaos that threaten the safety and well-being of all Yemeni citizens."The statement also noted that President Obama authorized logistical and intelligence support to the coalition operations in Yemen, but has not approved any direct military action.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Embassy in Uganda Issues Emergency Warning Citing 'Possible Terrorist Threats


Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(KAMPALA, Uganda) -- The U.S. Embassy in Uganda has issued an emergency warning to American citizens, warning of "possible terrorist threats" and that an attack could take place "soon.""Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Mission has cancelled some non-essential events scheduled at local hotels in the coming days," the message states. U.S. citizens are advised that there will likely be increased security sweeps and delays while entering or exiting hotel areas.The embassy is also recommending U.S. citizens in Uganda review security plans, be aware of their surroundings and take steps to enhance security -- including varying their daily schedules and avoiding crowded locations.Last week, the U.S. embassy in Djibouti announced a closure to review its security posture in regards to potential terrorist threats.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US-Led Coalition Offering Support to Iraqi Security Forces in Effort to Retake T


File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(TIKRIT, Iraq) -- U.S-led coalition forces began operations on Wednesday in an effort to "support Iraqi Security Forces in Tikrit" after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested assistance.Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren confirmed that the Iraqi government had requested support, saying Wednesday that "operations are ongoing."According to a statement, the coalition is providing "air strikes, airborne intelligence capabilities, and Advise and Assist support" to the Iraqi Security Forces. The efforts are part of the ISF's attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS. "These strikes are intended to destroy ISIS strongholds with precision, thereby saving innocent Iraqi lives while minimizing collateral damage to infrastructure," Lt. Gen. James Terry, the coalition's commanding general, said. "This will further enable Iraqi forces under Iraqi command to maneuver and defeat [ISIS] in the vicinity of Tikrit."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italian High Court Delays Amanda Knox Ruling


Ida Astute/ABC News(ROME) -- Italy's highest court has delayed its ruling on whether to uphold the Amanda Knox murder conviction of fellow student Meredith Kercher.  An Italian high court judge said on Wednesday that because of the volume of evidence presented to the court, a ruling won't come until Friday.The verdict was originally expected on Wednesday after lawyers gave their closing arguments. Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, face more than 25 years in prison, though Knox says she'll fight extradition if found guilty. Defence lawyers in the case said there is no physical evidence that puts Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime. Evidence for a third person, Rudy Guede, was found all over the murder scene, however. He's half-way through his prison sentence for the murder of Kercher. The prosecution argued that Knox's partial confession -- later retracted -- painted an accurate picture of the crime scene that indicated she was involved.Prosecutors asked to reduce the pair's long prison term by three months for a minor related crime whose statute of limitation had run out.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: American Mother-Daughter Pair Were on Board


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two of the Americans on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday have been identified as a mother and daughter who were traveling together.The mother has been identified as Yvonne Selke, who worked at the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton, and the company has confirmed her identity to ABC News.The second American victim was her daughter Emily Selke, who recently graduated from Drexel University."Our entire family is deeply saddened by the losses of Yvonne and Emily Selke," the family said in a statement Wednesday. "Two wonderful, caring, amazing people who meant so much to so many. At this difficult time we respectfully ask for privacy and your prayers.""Booz Allen and our employees are mourning the sudden and shocking death of Yvonne Selke, an employee of nearly 23 years, and her daughter, Emily, in the Germanwings airliner crash in the French Alps this week," Betty Thompson, an executive vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton, said in a statement."Yvonne was a wonderful co-worker and a dedicated employee who spent her career with the firm supporting the mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency," Thompson said.National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo also offered condolences."Every death is a tragedy, but seldom does a death affect us all so directly and unexpectedly," Cardillo said in a statement. "All of us offer our deepest condolences and will keep her family and her colleagues in our thoughts."The Selkes were two of the 150 people who died in the Tuesday morning crash.There was a third American, yet to be identified, on board, according to the U.S. State Department.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NASA Finds New Evidence of Life-Supporting Ingredient on Mars


NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS(NEW YORK) -- NASA's Curiosity rover has found new evidence of nitrogen on Mars, proving that the red planet has -- or at least had -- the right stuff to sustain life.The rover drilled into Martian rocks and discovered evidence of nitrates, which are essential compounds to the building blocks of life."The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life," NASA said in a blog post.Despite the finding, the space agency said "there is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life."The nitrates are believed to be ancient and likely came from meteorite impacts or lightning events, according to NASA, which also pointed out that the surface of Mars is currently inhospitable to known life forms.Curiosity has also found signs that other elements needed for life once existed on the red planet, including liquid water and organic matter, which were located in the Gale Crater billions of years ago, according to NASA.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Alice Leading Name for Royal Baby, UK Betting Company Says


Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) -- Britain’s Prince William and Duchess Kate will welcome a blonde-haired girl named Alice on a Thursday in April, if bookmakers have their say.The U.K.-based, online betting company Betfair announced on Tuesday that the name Alice has overtaken the name Elizabeth as the most popular bet for William and Kate to name their next child after an “unexpected rush of support for Alice over the last 24 hours.”“The public love a royal announcement and we’re expecting the arrival to be the novelty betting heat of the year,” Betfair’s Cormac Dowling said in a statement.William, 32, and Kate, 33, are expecting their second child in April.The royal couple has revealed neither Kate's exact due date nor the sex of their second child.Betfair says that bets are evenly split over whether the new royal will be a boy or a girl, but girls’ names are leading the way in the betting for a name.Alice is followed by Elizabeth and Charlotte and then Richard and James, to round out the top five.The name Alice is in William’s royal lineage. The aunt of William’s grandmother, the Queen, was named Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. She died nearly 11 years ago at the age of 102, according to the monarchy’s website.Betfair says bookies got the name correct when Prince William and Duchess Kate had their first child, Prince George. George took over 70 percent of the bets prior to the birth, according to Betfair.The 1-year-old prince's full name is George Alexander Louis.Another U.K.-based online betting and gambling company, Ladbrokes, says it has also seen a surge in support for the name Alice in recent days."A mystery gamble has developed on Alice in the last few days, and such is the support it's now the joint favorite with Elizabeth at 5/1," Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge told ABC News. "Punters in the U.K. are desperate for Prince George to be joined by a little sister next month, and with a few weeks to go baby betting is booming."Ladbrokes held what it billed as the first-ever corgi race earlier this month to predict a baby name for Prince William and Kate.In that race, the winner was Alexandra, though the odds-on favorite for the girl’s name had been Elizabeth, the namesake of the baby’s great-grandmother, and James for the boys, an 8 to 1 favorite.Here is the full list of Royal Baby Odds as provided by Betfair:Royal Baby NameAlice 3/1Elizabeth 5/1Charlotte 11/2Richard 10/1James 12/1Victoria 12/1Arthur 12/1Alexandra 12/1William 14/1Charles 14/1Diana 14/1Philip 14/1Catherine/Kate 14/1Mary 14/1Henry 16/1Frances 16/1Alexander 20/1Albert 20/1Spencer 20/1Christopher 20/1Florence 25/1Francis 25/1Eleanor 25/1Michael 25/1Rose 25/1Margaret 25/1Ella 28/1Alfred 33/1Anne 33/1Anthony 33/1Ava 33/1Caroline 33/1David 33/1Frederick 33/1John 33/1Philippa 33/1Sarah 33/1Amelia 40/1Edward 40/1Emily 40/1Helen/Helena 40/1Louis 40/1Sophie 40/1Andrew 40/1Penelope 50/1Carole 66/1Jane 66/1Louise 66/1Robert 66/1Stephanie 80/1Camilla 100/1Trevor 100/1Raheem 500/1Sepp 500/1Hair color of babyBlonde 6/4Brown 7/4Black 7/2Red 5/1Gender of babyMale EVSFemale 8/11Day of birthThursday 5/1Friday 11/2Monday 11/2Tuesday 11/2Wednesday 6/1Saturday 6/1Sunday 6/1Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italian Police Arrest Three Suspected Recruiters for ISIS


iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Police in Italy have arrested three suspected members of an Islamic extremist cell believed to be recruiting jihadists for ISIS.Two of the suspects were taken into custody in northern Italy Wednesday after authorities searched their property. Police say one suspect -- a 20-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent -- is accused of posting 64 pages of pro-ISIS propaganda on the Internet. The document was posted on Facebook and other sites and was written in Italian -- evidence, police say, of an attempt to recruit jihadists in Italy. The two other suspects, an uncle and nephew, have Albanian citizenship. One lives in northern Italy and the other in Albania. Police say all three were in touch with an ISIS fighter with links to Italy.Wednesday's arrests were the result of a long, covert operation, according to authorities. Italy has been on high alert for terrorist attacks since ISIS threatened it would invade Rome in a video several months ago.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Germanwings Crash: Three Possible Reasons Why the Plane Went Down


Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses(NEW YORK) — The black box will reveal the critical final moments before a Germanwings flight bound for Dusseldorf crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, but experts have already been able to theorize about some of the most plausible options.The official cause of the crash is still a mystery, but the biggest indicator of trouble comes from the plane’s increased drop in altitude in the minutes leading up to the crash.There were steps taken by the pilots, including a 15 degree shift in direction during the descent, that suggests they were in control to some extent, but there was no communication with air traffic control which is part of standard operating procedure during such a move, experts said.“One of the most important aspects of that is to talk to air traffic control because you're descending right into oncoming air traffic and the pilots know that they changed their course 15 degrees off their course, which is exactly what you would do in an emergency descent but on the way down, there's no conversation,” former U.S Air Force pilot and current ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said on ABC's Good Morning America. “Could they not talk? Had they turned off the electricity because of a fire? We don’t know that.”The inability -- or the choice -- of the pilots not to communicate with air traffic control suggests two possible causes, the first being a lack of oxygen within the aircraft, which led to depressurization and incapacitated the pilots.Tom Haueter, a former National Transportation Safety Board director, told ABC News that another reason could be that there was smoke or some kind of fire in the cockpit that would have made it difficult not only for the pilots to see but also for them to operate the aircraft, potentially leading them to be overcome with smoke.A third possibility comes from the indication that the pilots appeared to be handling some kind of problem and assessing their options by taking the steps to descend and adjust their path accordingly, but may have been overcome by that problem, whatever it may be."It definitely looks like an emergency descent for unknown reasons but beyond that we don't know," Haueter said."It means something very quickly catastrophic was going on. We don't know the build up to that," he added.The rapid descent is the main cause of concern for Nance as the plane was dropping one and a half to two times as fast as normal. At 10:45 a.m., the plane was flying at 38,000 feet, but they began dropping one minute later, officials said on Tuesday.By 10:53 a.m., they were down to roughly 6,000 feet, officials said.“Most troubling is why in an area that they know the Alps are, that they go up to 15,000 feet, why did they not level off at 15,000 feet? Why continue down? That really indicates the possibility...of incapacitation,” Nance said.World News Videos | US News VideosFollow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Audio File Recovered from Germanwings Black Box


ABC News(DIGNE, France) -- The spokesman for the lead investigating agency said on Wednesday that they have recovered an audio file from the black box of the downed Germanwings flight but have not found the second black box from the Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps.This comes after French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said at an earlier news conference that crews had found the exterior of the black box but not the module that contains the memory equipment, though the spokesman for the Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) went on to deny any such discovery."We have not localized the black box," said BEA Director Rémi Jouty. "We have not found any debris of the black box and in the history of air accidents we know about ... [we] don't remember any recorder broken into little pieces."When asked if they had ruled out the possibility of the crash being the result of a terrorist attack, he said the BEA is "not ruling out any hypothesis at this stage."Investigators have recovered an audio file from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, though no further details were revealed about whether or not voices are heard on the recording.Jouty noted that it would take days for initial findings to be released, though it will be weeks before a full understanding is clear. But, he was able to weigh in and tentatively ruled several possible causes out based on the debris pattern."The area seems very big but the debris seems very small which is not at all consistent with an aircraft that exploded mid-air," Jouty said."At the moment, there's no information leading us to think that the weather conditions were particularly bad," he said.One of the problems facing investigators is the location of the crash site, as the area is very steep and unstable. Investigators and site crews have to be tied to one another when they are near the crash site to ensure their safety, Jouty said.Earlier on Wednesday, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann noted that two Americans were on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday.The U.S. State Department later confirmed that two Americans were on board."We are in contact with family members and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 150 people on board," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "We are continuing to review our records to determine whether any other U.S. citizens might have been on board the flight."The Germanwings plane crashed Tuesday in the Alps in southern France with 150 people on board, including two babies, the airline said. Hollande said there were "apparently no survivors."Searchers returned to the crash scene on Wednesday, as France's minister of the interior said a black box voice recorder from the plane is damaged. Even so, said the official, Bernard Cazeneuve, the information on the recorder should be retrievable.The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said a full analysis of the voice recorder was expected to be done by Thursday. But Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said on BFM TV that black box results could take several days.The initial focus for the voice recorder investigators will be "on the human voices, the conversations," followed by the cockpit sounds, France's transport minister, Alain Vidalies, told Europe 1 radio Wednesday morning.The flight data recorder has not been retrieved yet.Police helicopter searches of the Germanwings Airbus crash site resumed Wednesday morning.Xavier Roy, coordinator for French air rescue, told ABC News that no bodies are going to be taken from the mountain Wednesday, and that the investigation on site will take a week. Unlike other crash sites, Roy said, there isn't much to find."When you go to a crash site you expect to recognize parts of an airplane." he said. "Sadly, here you don't see anything -- just debris scattered all over."He added that this was a difficult area to search, as it is "nearly impossible to reach by foot," making it challenging to get rescuers in and out of the area safely.The top priorities now are locating bodies and the second black box, he said.In addition to 72 Germans, 35 Spanish and two Americans on board, Winkelmann said there were two victims each from Australia, Argentina, Iran and Venezuela. One victim each came from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel, he said, adding that the list isn't yet final because the company is still trying to contact relatives of 27 victims. Winkelmann added that in some cases, victims' nationality weren’t clear because of possible dual citizenship.Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were scheduled to arrive at the crash staging area Wednesday.The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, the Germanwings CEO said. Lufthansa called the crash "an accident.""Seeing the site of the accident was harrowing," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr tweeted Wednesday morning. "We are in deep mourning. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims." Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 



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