French air crash investigators have retrieved recordings from one of the two “black box” recorders from Germanwings flight 4U9525, which crashed into a mountain in the French Alps on Tuesday.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was recovered and brought to the French air investigation bureau (BEA) on Wednesday morning, and the audio was successfully extracted earlier today, said BEA director Remi Jouty.

Investigators hope that the recordings will provide an insight as to why the crew failed to respond to air traffic control messages as it rapidly lost altitude over a period of eight minutes before crashing into the mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.

The plane is believed to have smashed into the mountain at a speed of 430mph, shattering the aircraft into small pieces, and scattering the remains of those on board across a wide area.

The second black box, which records technical flight data about the aircraft, was found in a severely damaged state on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier today, grieving families of the crash victims began arriving in Alpine villages around the crash site.

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