File Photo: French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve June 1, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
France's interior minister said investigators are looking into all possible causes of Tuesday's Germanwings crash in the French Alps, but he appeared to rule out the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
"The debris from the plane is spread over one and a half hectares, which is a significant area because the shock was significant but it shows that the plane did not appear to have exploded," Bernard Cazeneuve told French radio station RTL.
The theory of a terrorist attack is "not the theory we're focusing on," Cazeneuve said.
Nevertheless, the minister added cautiously that "all theories must be carefully examined until we have the results of the enquiry."
He said the black box that had been recovered from the crash site, which records the sounds and conversations in the cockpit, had been damaged and would need to be repaired "in the coming hours."
"The enquiry must begin today," stressed Cazeneuve.
Early Wednesday, investigators began the grim task of sifting through the pulverised remnants of the Germanwings Airbus A320, which smashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
Their efforts are being hampered by the inaccessibility of the crash site, with helicopters finding it near impossible to land in the rocky and perilously steep mountain terrain.