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Spanish PM 'shocked' by French Airbus crash, sets up crisis cell

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday he was "shocked" by the crash of a Germanwings Airbus plane in the French Alps with 150 people aboard which had departed from Barcelona in Spain and had set up a crisis cell.

[MADRID] Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday he was "shocked" by the crash of a Germanwings Airbus plane in the French Alps with 150 people aboard which had departed from Barcelona in Spain and had set up a crisis cell.

"I can't provide any information, all the information I have is preliminary. It is dramatic and sad news with the loss of many lives," he told reporters in the northern Basque Country.

Mr Rajoy said he had suspended his agenda to follow developments and had set up a crisis cell.

He said he had spoken by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and with Spain's King Felipe VI, who was on a state visit to France, his first since ascending the throne last year.

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"Shocked by the air accident in the Alps. A tragedy. We are cooperating with the French and German authorities in the investigation," Mr Rajoy said earlier in a Twitter message after French officials said nobody survived the accident.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, who is in charge of the crisis cabinet, said there were 45 people with Spanish-sounding surnames on board the plane which was travelling to the German city of Dusseldorf. It was not immediately clear how many of them were Spanish citizens.

Transport Minister Ana Pastor was heading to the southern French city of Marseille to be near the area of the crash in the ski resort area of Barcelonnette.

AFP

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