السبت , يونيو 6 2020

Emotional tributes to Alps crash dead

Emotional tributes have been paid to the victims of last month’s Alps plane crash at a memorial service in Germany.

Some 500 relatives of the dead passengers and crew were among the 1,400-strong congregation at Cologne cathedral.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was joined by ministers from France and Spain, and executives from Germanwings and its parent company Lufthansa.

All 150 people on board the Germanwings Airbus died in the 24 March crash.

The co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is accused of deliberately flying the plane into the French alps.

Musical tributes

The two-hour service included music and tributes from a number of individuals, including dignitaries and members of the emergency services.

German President Joachim Gauck told the congregation that the country was still in “enormous shock” over what happened.

“Since this day, nothing has been what it was for these families and friends… something was destroyed that can never be healed again in this world.”

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who was leading the service, told relatives “mere words are too weak to console”.

“But dear sisters and brothers, the fact that we are all here and the fact that so many people are now connected with us… that shall give you consolation.”

Music students from the Joseph-Koenig school in Haltern, which lost 16 children and two teachers in the crash, played the theme from the film “Schindler’s List”.

Memorial service at Cologne Cathedral on 17 April 2015

Church leaders reflected on the struggle of relatives to comprehend what has happened

Ministers from France, Spain and Germany at Cologne Cathedral on 17 April 2015

The service was attended by Germany’s Angela Merkel (fourth from right) and members of the French and Spanish governments

People pray outside Cologne Cathedral on 17 April 2015

Mourners gathered outside the cathedral to watch the service on big screens

Bells tolled as mourners arrived for the service, and a candle for each of the victims had been placed on the altar.

Flags flew at half-mast across Germany, and large screens were erected for crowds gathered outside.

The BBC’s Jenny Hill, outside the cathedral, said the mood was very sombre.

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Who were the victims?

From left to right: Paul Bramley, Greig Friday, Martyn Matthews, Emily Selke. Bottom: Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio, Carol Friday, Oleg Bryjak, Maria Radner

The faces of some of the passengers on board the Airbus 320

  • From 18 countries, although most were Spanish or German
  • Sixteen students and two of their teachers, from Joseph-Koenig school in Haltern, western Germany, were travelling back from a Spanish exchange trip
  • Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio, a Spanish filmmaker living in Manchester, was travelling back from a funeral with her seven-month old son Julian Pracz-Bandres
  • Opera singers Maria Radner and Oleg Bryjak had been performing in Barcelona. Radner’s husband and baby were also on the plane
  • German media named the captain of the flight as Patrick Sonderheimer. It is believed he had gone to the toilet shortly after take-off, leaving co-pilot Lubitz in charge of the aircraft

Read more stories of the victims

German pupils devastated by deaths of classmates

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The Airbus 320 was travelling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf when it crashed with 144 passengers and six crew members on board in the southern French Alps.

Recordings retrieved from one of the plane’s flight recorders appeared to show Andreas Lubitz locking the captain out of the cockpit, while he put the plane in to descent.

It later emerged he had a history of depression and was receiving treatment from neurologists and psychiatrists. He had been signed off from work a number of times, including on the day of the crash.

Some 72 Germans were on board the aircraft when it went down, along with 50 Spaniards and other passengers from around the world.

Investigators are still trying to formally identify all of the victims, whose remains were recovered from the crash site near the French village of Le Vernet.

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Map showing flight path

What happened in the last 30 minutes of Flight 4U 9525?

Who was Andreas Lubitz?

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