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Spain's Felipe cuts short French visit after fatal plane crash

A GermanWings Airbus A320 Reuters/Jan Seba

King Felipe VI of Spain announced on Monday that he is cutting short his state visit to France because of the plane crash in which many Spaniards are thought to have died.

In a short address outside the Elysées Palace, just hours after his arrival in Paris, he declared that he had decided to cancel the remaining three days of his visit.

“We know that the number of victims is extremely high,” said the Spanish monarch, noting that among the victims there were many Spanish, German and Turkish people.

Around 150 people are thought to have died when a GermanWings plane flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf in Germany, crashed in the French Alps on Monday morning.

Felipe, accompanied by his wife Letizia, had been welcomed on his arrival in France by French prime minister Manuel Valls, who was himself born in Barcelona.

The trip was Felipe’s first visit abroad since his accession to the Spanish throne in June 2014, following the abdication of his father Juan Carlos.

King Felipe was scheduled to address the French parliament and to inaugurate a major exhibition showing the works of Spanish painter Diego Velasquez, before attending a state dinner as a guest of French president François Hollande at the Elysées palace.