WASHINGTON – Two Americans presumed to have died 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 and highly regarded employee of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her grown daughter, whose name was not immediately available. 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 bobbed brown hair and eyeglasses, and a photo of her daughter, an attractive blond with dark eyes and 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 at this time.
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 at this time 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 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.