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Many Catalan families of the airplane crash victims return home after tribute in the Alps

On Thursday, the families of the Germanwings crash victims arrived at the crash site to bid farewell to their relatives. They did so on the day it became known that the aircraft was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, killing all 150 people on board. A private ceremony took place in a field in Le Vernet that hosts a small chapel and faces the mountain on which the plane crashed. The relatives of the victims, most of them Germans and Catalans, arrived by bus from Marseille, escorted by the French Gendarmerie and psychological support teams. A tribute plaque was unveiled and they were told that the crash happened just on the other side of the mountain in front of them. After the ceremony, they were transferred to a pavilion in Seyne-les-Alpes, where they were offered religious services of various faiths for those who needed them. In the evening, most of the Catalan families decided to return home, as initially planned.

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26 March 2015 09:27 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Thursday, the families of the Germanwings crash victims arrived at the crash site to bid farewell to their relatives. They did so on the day it became known that the aircraft was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who killed himself and 149 people. A farewell and private ceremony took place in a field of Le Vernet, which hosts a small chapel and is facing the mountain peak on which the plane crashed. In the evening, most of the Catalan families decided to return home, as initially planned, although they were also offered the possibility of staying for a few days in the area. However, experts advised against relatives staying on location and waiting for all the bodies to be rescued and identified.


The relatives of the victims, most of them from Germany and Catalonia, arrived by bus from Marseille, escorted by the French Gendarmerie and teams of psychologists, social workers and doctors. A plane put on by Luthansa departed from Barcelona El Prat Airport on Thursday early morning and, the night before, a bus heading to Marseille left the hotel in Castelldefels (in Greater Barcelona), where the families were being taken care of on Wednesday.

The French authorities have prioritised the privacy of the relatives, who arrived at Le Vernet with a caravan of buses at 4pm. The buses had tinted windows or were covered by curtains and journalists were kept some 300 metres from the ceremony.

According to Toni Sánchez, Head of First Response of the Red Cross, who is travelling with the families, the "main" purpose of the ceremony was to "give them the opportunity to emotionally express themselves" and have some time to see the place where their beloved ones disappeared. The opportunity to bid farewell to the victims is highly recommended by experts as it helps the mourning process. In this sense, Sánchez said that the trip "has probably made things a little bit easier" for the families. However, knowing that the aircraft was deliberately destroyed "does not help" the regular mourning process that the relatives have to go through.

A commemorative plaque has been unveiled and the families were told that the crash happened just on the other side of the mountain in front of them. After the ceremony, they were transferred to a pavilion in Seyne-les-Alpes, in which they were offered refreshments and religious services of various faiths for those who needed them. After this, most of the Catalan families decided to return home, by bus or by the Lufthansa plane from Marseille. The German company has covered all the transport expenses incurred.

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  • The families of the Germanwings aircraft victims arriving at Le Vernet, in the French Alps (by G. Sánchez)

  • The families of the Germanwings aircraft victims arriving at Le Vernet, in the French Alps (by G. Sánchez)