American crash victims: US government contractor, daughter

Rescue workers work at the plane crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, after a Germanwings jetliner crashed Tuesday in the French Alps. French investigators cracked open the badly damaged black box of a German jetliner on Wednesday and sealed off the rugged Alpine crash site where 150 people died when their plane on a flight from Barcelona, Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany, slammed into a mountain. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Americans presumed dead in the plane crash in the southern French Alps include a U.S. government contractor and her daughter, The Associated Press has learned.

The mother was identified as Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, a longtime employee of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her grown daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Yvonne Selke performed work under contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s satellite mapping office, according to a person close to the family. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to release information to reporters.

Friends and coworkers of Selke’s circulated a photograph of her showing a smiling, middle-aged woman with brown hair and eyeglasses, and a photo of Emily showing a blond young woman with dark eyes and a bright smile. They described Selke as a diligent and generous worker who regularly brought cookies to co-workers.

A person who answered the phone at Selke’s home said the family was not providing any information.

Drexel University said in a statement that Emily Selke graduated with honors in 2013 and was a music industry major. Her sorority at Drexel, Gamma Sigma Sigma, said in a statement on its Facebook page with a photo of Emily that it was mourning her loss and said she “always put others before herself and cared deeply for all those in her life.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki earlier Wednesday confirmed the deaths of two U.S. citizens. She said the government was in contact with family members but not releasing the names now out of respect for the family, and said the U.S. was reviewing records to determine whether any other U.S. citizens might have been on board the flight.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 150 people on board,” Psaki said.

Further details about Selke’s work for the secretive Pentagon agency were not immediately available. Most information about Selke’s assignment and contact information had already been removed Wednesday from Booz Allen’s internal network.

A Booz Allen spokeswoman, Kimberly West, declined to comment, noting that Germanwings had not yet disclosed identities of the crash victims. A spokesman for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Timothy B. Taylor, said it was inappropriate for the agency to comment or confirm information about any contract employee.

The Germanwings A320 lost radio contact with air traffic controllers over the southern French Alps during a seemingly routine flight Tuesday from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany, before crashing, killing all 150 on board.

French officials said terrorism appeared unlikely, and Germany’s top security official said Wednesday there was no evidence of foul play. French investigators were opening the jet’s mangled black box they recovered, hoping the cockpit recordings inside would help them unlock the mystery of what caused the crash.

 

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