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Recovery efforts resume at dawn in Germanwings crash

Investigators are to resume searching for clues about the crash of Germanwings flight 9525. The leaders of Germany, Spain and France are due to arrive at the crash site today to pay their respects.

French investigators will comb through the wreckage of

Germanwings

flight 9525 on Wednesday to recover remains and attempt to locate the aircraft's second black box. Recovery crews suspended their operations late Tuesday in the remote Alpine region as night fell and conditions became too difficult to continue their search.

The flight, en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf,

crashed in a remote area of the French Alps

near the town of Seyne-Les-Alpes shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. No distress call was received from the aircraft, and there was no immediate word on a possible cause.

A source familiar with the recovery operations told Reuters news agency the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder had been recovered, but the second black box which records flight data still needed to be located.

Weather may hamper efforts

"The weather report is saying they are expecting snow in the early morning and that of course will keep the helicopters on the ground if it is too heavy." DW's Max Hoffman reported. "The place where the crash happened is about a two hour hike on foot."

Civil aviation investigators from France's Bureau d'Enquetes are scheduled to hold a news conference on the crash Wednesday afternoon.

'A picture of horror'

With Europe

still in shock over the crash,

leading politicians are set Wednesday to travel to the crash site to pay their respects.

Many of the passengers on the flight were German and Spanish nationals, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel canceled all of her appointments Wednesday to travel to the site. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and French President Francois Hollande will join her.

Menschen zünden Kerzen für Opfer des Absturz der Germanwings-Maschine an

Haltern am See, in northwestern Germany was particularly hard hit by the tragedy, losing 16 high school students

"My thoughts and my condolences and the whole German government go out to those who have suddenly lost their lives, including many of our compatriots. The suffering of their families is immense," Merkel said Tuesday.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the crash site, "a picture of horror" as he was flown over the crash scene Tuesday and briefed by French authorities.

Haltern mourns

The town of Haltern am See, which lost 16 teenagers in the crash, will hold a memorial service Wednesday to honor the victims of the tragedy. Classes were canceled at the Joseph-König Gymnasium which the students attended.

The victims were returning from a week-long exchange at a high school near Barcelona making a reciprocal visit after Spanish students had visited Haltern, a town of about 38,000 north of Düsseldorf.

"It's impossible to believe that they won't be there anymore in the coming days," 10th grade student Christopher Schweigmann, who lost two friends in the crash told the Associated Press. "Everyone was in tears," he added, speaking of a memorial service held at a local church.

"This is certainly the darkest day in the history of our city," Haltern Mayor Bodo Klimpel said at a press conference Tuesday. "The city is deeply saddened ... Everyone is in a state of shock. It is the worst thing you can imagine," he said.

bw/rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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