Germanwings crash: Mourners lay floral tributes and light candles for 150 victims – in pictures

The 150 passengers and crew onboard the aircraft are feared to be dead

Kashmira Gander
Wednesday 25 March 2015 00:06
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Staff members of Germanwings and Lufthansa hold a candlelight vigil outside their headquarters in Cologne
Staff members of Germanwings and Lufthansa hold a candlelight vigil outside their headquarters in Cologne

Candles and flowers were laid this evening in tribute to the 150 passengers on board Germanwings Flight 9525, who are feared to be dead.

A total of 67 Germans, a large but undetermined number of Spaniards, two Australians, and one person each from the Netherlands, Turkey, and Denmark were among the victims, according to their respective governments. The Mexican government is now also investigating reports that one of its citizens was also on the plane.

One of the Spanish passengers is believed to be a 37-year-old woman who lived in Manchester, the Manchester Evening News reported.

The aircraft was flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf when it crashed in a remote part of the French Alps at around 11am on Monday morning. The cause of the crash remains unclear, and search operations at the site have ended for the night.

Residents of the west German town of Haltern are now mourning for the 16 students and two teachers who were flying on the aircraft.

"This is surely the blackest day in the history of our town," a visibly shaken Haltern Mayor Bodo Klimpel said of the victims from Joseph Koenig High School, who were returning from a week-long school exchange trip in the Spainish village of Llinars del Valles, which has been a tradition for at least 15 years.

"This is pretty much the worst thing you can imagine," Klimpel told reporters.

An employee of Germanwings and Lufthansa lay flowers and candles outside the headquarters of Germanwings in Cologne, Germany, 24 March 2015. (Image: EPA/Marius Becker)
Students leave candles in front of the Joseph-Koenig college in Haltern am See (Image: EPA/Rolf Vennenbernd)

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Images from the scene showed friends, loved ones and well-wishers embracing each other as they laid flower and placed candles on the high school's front steps where the year 10 students had studied.

Crisis counsellors have been called to the school to help students and staff members to deal with the tragedy.

Christopher Schweigmann, 16, a year 10 student who said he lost two good friends described how students attended a church service for the victims on Tuesday evening where "everyone was in tears".

"It's impossible to believe that they all won't be there anymore in the coming days," he said.

In an attempt to allow students and staff to heal, the high school was going to be kept open Wednesday but no classes were planned.

"There will be an opportunity for the students to talk about the terrible event," Klimpel said.

Candles sit on a paper reading "in silent memory, class 9a/9c" in front of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium (Image: AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Students stand in front of candles in front of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium.

The music community was also coming to terms with possible loses, after it emerged that two opera singers were on the plane.

Duesseldorf-born contralto Maria Radner and bass baritone Oleg Bryjak, who was born in Kazakhstan but had been a member since 1996 of the ensemble at Duesseldorf's Deutsche Oper am Rhein opera house, had been in Barcelona to perform in Richard Wagner's Siegfried at the city's Gran Teatre del Liceu.

"We have lost a great performer and a great person in Oleg Bryjak. We are stunned," said Christoph Meyer, director of Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

Two of the victims, Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner

Radner had boarded the Germanwings flight with her husband and baby, Liceu director of communications Joan Corbera said. He added that the theatre's employees will hold two minutes of silence on Wednesday in the singers' honor.

Thomas Winkelmann, Managing Director of Germanwings, speaks to employees next to Chief Pilot of Germanwings Stefan Kenan Scheib (R) as they prepare to place lit candles outside Germanwings headquarters at Cologne Bonn. (Image: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
Candles and condolence messages are seen in Duesseldorf airport, Germany (Image: EPA/CAROLINE SEIDEL)

Also traveling on the plane with her baby was Marina Bandres, who had flown to the Spanish city of Jaca in the Spanish Pyrenees to attend a relative's funeral. She lived in Manchester, according to the town's Mayor Victor Barrio. Bandres had been attending a funeral in Jaca for a relative.

Business travellers on the aircraft included Carles Milla, the managing director for a small Spanish food machinery company, his office said, adding that he had been on his way to a food technology fair in Cologne. Two employees of Barcelona's trade fair organization were also on the flight.

Catalonia's regional leader, Artur Mas, said the government would arrange transportation for families who want to view the crash site but did not say when the visit would take place.

Additional reporting by AP

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