Recovery teams have resumed their search in hazardous terrain after a passenger plane plunged into a mountainside killing all 150 people on board.Investigators are also examining the black box voice recorder of the doomed Germanwings aircraft in the hunt for clues as to what caused the Airbus A320 to crash in the French Alps without issuing a mayday call.
:: Click here for the latest update on the plane crashMeanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was "likely that there were some British nationals" on the Airbus A320.
Overnight rain and snow at the crash site has made the rocky ravine slippery, increasing problems in reaching the area.
Images of the area show the plane had completely disintegrated, with the fuselage smashed into small pieces, the largest of which is about the size of a small car.
The plane was en route from Barcelona in Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, when it came down on Tuesday morning less than an hour into its flight at Meolans-Revels, between Barcelonnette and Digne.
None of the 144 passengers and six crew survived the crash.
Among those on board were 16 children and two teachers from the same school in Haltern Am See in Germany were on the plane, returning home after an exchange visit.
The mayor of a town close to the site of the crash has said the families of those killed are expected to begin arriving in the town on Wednesday morning.
The French authorities said although the black box had been damaged, it is thought to be "useable".
Although officials insist no cause has been ruled out, terrorism is not considered likely.
Officials said flight 4U 9525, which took off at 10.01am (9.01am UK time), had started descending one minute after reaching its cruising height.
It then plummeted from 38,000ft to 6,800ft in eight minutes before crashing - dropping about 4,000ft a minute.
French aviation authorities said the plane did not issue a distress call and had lost radio contact with air traffic controllers at 10.53am.
Germanwings said the plane had a normal service at Dusseldorf on Monday and its last major check-up was in the summer of 2013. Experts have said the A320 has a relatively good safety record .
However, some Lufthansa crews are refusing to fly "for personal reasons" which has led to a number of flights being cancelled, the airline admitted.
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was flown over the site and called it "a picture of horror" .
There were believed to be 67 people from Germany on the aircraft, including the school children and German opera singers Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner.
Forty-five of the passengers are thought to be Spanish and two were Australian.
Marina Bandres, who came from Jaca in the Spanish Pyrenees and lived in Britain, was travelling on the plane with her baby, said Jaca mayor Victor Barrio.
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop read a statement in parliament from the family of victims Carol Friday and her son Greig, from Victoria.
They said: "Our family is in deep disbelief and crippled with sadness and would like to ask for privacy. Carol was a loving mother of two.
"She celebrated her 68th birthday on March 23. Greig was to turn 30 on 23 April. He was a loving son to Carol and Dave and an exceptional brother to his sister, Alex. He was adored by all his family and friends.
"Carol and Greig were enjoying a few weeks holiday together at the start of his European stay, where Greig was to teach English this year.
"They were both extraordinary and exceptional people who were loved by many, who they loved in return. They will forever be with us in our hearts, memories and dreams."
France's President Francois Hollande said: "It's a tragedy on our soil."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her thoughts were "with those people who so suddenly lost their lives, among them many compatriots".
:: Anyone concerned about a relative or friend who may have been on board should call 0207 008 0000, says the Foreign Office.