Friday 9 December 2016

First victims' remains from Germanwings plane crash flown back to relatives

Published 09/06/2015 | 11:37

Experts comb the debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. (AP)
Experts comb the debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. (AP)

The first victims' remains from the Germanwings crash are being flown from France to Germany, 11 weeks after the disaster that killed all 150 people onboard.

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Dozens of victims' relatives from the March 24 crash in the French Alps have been awaiting the return of the remains. In the first repatriation, 44 coffins are expected to be flown from Marseille to Duesseldorf.

Germanwings parent company Lufthansa has chartered a plane to bring the coffins to Germany, and has said that other remains will be repatriated by month's end.

Read more: Remains of Germanwings victims identified

Andreas Lubitz
Andreas Lubitz
Rescue workers scour debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France (AP)

Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer for families of 34 victims, said many relatives "don't want to realise that their children are dead. It will be brutal when they see the coffins, but it is necessary, because they need closure."

Investigators believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had a history of depression, intentionally crashed the A320 flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

The office of Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, who is leading a French investigation into the crash, said that he will hold a news conference on Thursday after meeting in Paris with victims' relatives. The victims had 19 different nationalities. Nearly half were German, and 47 were Spanish.

Read more: Germanwings co-pilot 'practiced descent on outbound flight before crash'

Mr Robin's office said he was expecting 300 to 400 people to attend the closed-door meeting at a Foreign Ministry conference centre in south-west Paris, including relatives and officials representing families who weren't travelling to Paris.

Press Association

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