"The plane's speed exceeded its design limits, Reuters reported, adding that passengers would have experienced negative G-forces before impact. "
A typical person can handle about 5 g0 (49 m/s2) (meaning some people might pass out when riding a higher-g roller coaster, which in some cases exceeds this point) before losing consciousness, but through the combination of special g-suits and efforts to strain muscles—both of which act to force blood back into the brain—modern pilots can typically handle a sustained 9 g0 (88 m/s2).
In aircraft particularly, vertical g-forces are often positive (force blood towards the feet and away from the head); this causes problems with the eyes and brain in particular.
There are isolated incidents of humans surviving abnormally high G-forces, most notably the Air Force officer John Stapp, who demonstrated a human can withstand 46.2 G’s. The experiment only went on a few seconds, but for an instant, his body had weighed over 7,700 pounds.