Sixteen German teenagers on a school exchange trip were feared to be among the 150 dead in the crash of a passenger jet in the French Alps on Tuesday, officials said.
"There were 16 children and two teachers who had spent a week here, poor things. The children were aged about 15,", Marti Pujol, mayor of the village of Llinars del Valles near Barcelona, told AFP.
He said the pupils and teachers left for Barcelona airport on Tuesday morning, though he could not confirm that they had boarded the Germanwings flight as planned.
Some of the staff at the high school where they had been on an exchange programme knew their flight number and the time of their flight, he said.
The school party was from the town of Haltern am See in northern Germany.
"All the signs point to them being on board the plane" when it crashed, said a spokesman for the local authorities in Haltern, Georg Bockey.
The flight run by Germanwings -- a low-cost subsidiary of German carrier Lufthansa -- took off from Barcelona at 9:55 am (08:55 GMT) bound for Duesseldorf.
"Everyone in Haltern knew that they were due to arrive in Duesseldorf about noon," Bockey told AFP.
French officials said there were no survivors from the 150 people on board the Germanwings Airbus 320 jet when it crashed in a remote spot in the ski resort area of Barcelonnette.
Pujol said pupils at the Instituto Giola which the German visitors had attended during their exchange were being attended to by the Red Cross and psychologists.