Germanwings: A continent in mourning

As a new day dawns on the tragedy of Germanwings flight 4U9525, the friends and family of deceased passengers are still in the dark as to what caused the crash. Yesterday morning, the
Airbus 320 jet departed from Barcelona’s El Prat airport bound for the German city of Dusseldorf.

The ill-fated flight never reached its destination, crashing into a remote area of the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. As news of the crash began to emerge, tearful relatives congregated at airports in Barcelona and Dusseldorf, desperately hoping for some news of their loved ones, yet fearing the worst. 

In what was to be a universal day of mourning, it was revealed that none of the passengers could have survived. Among them were 16 German teenagers  returning from a school trip to Spain. Outside their school, fellow students lit candles and laid

flowers for their fallen friends.

“This is certainly the darkest day in the history of our city,” said Bodo Klimpel, the mayor of Haltern am See, the students’ home town in northwestern Germany.

“The city is deeply saddened…Everyone is in a state of shock. It is the worst thing you can imagine.”

In the Spanish village of Llinars del Vallés, psychologists from the Red Cross have been brought in to help those the deceased German students had been staying with.

“You have this child staying in your home, you take them on excursions toBarcelona and in the end  you’ve looked after this child as if it were your own for the week — there’s a lot of pain in this community today,” said the town’s mayor, Pujol i Casals. 

Two leading opera singers were also on board the flight. Contralto Maria Radner, a world-renowned singer who had performed

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in prestigious venues in New York, Milan, and Buenos Aires, was flying to Germany with her husband and baby. She had been performing at Barcelona’s Liceu in the Richard Wagner opera Siegfried.

 It was her debut at the venue. Fellow performer Oleg Bryjak, from Kazakhstan, also died. In addition to Ms Radner’s child, another infant was believed to be on the flight.

Spanish woman  Marina Bandres Lopez- Belio was returning home after attending her mother’s funeral. She was travelling with her Polish husband and their seven-month-old baby.

It has been reported that the family live in Manchester, but were returning home via Germany, havingbeen unable to get a direct flight.

To reflect the grief of the nation, Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria, has declared three days of official mourning. Lufthansa vice-president

Heike Birlenbach said the company is treating the crash as an accident, though French prime minister Manual Valls said “no hypothesis” could be ruled out. It is hoped that the plane’s

black box, which was recovered yesterday, can help determine why the plane entered

an as-yet-unexplained eight-minute descent.

Germanwings: A continent in mourning

The Airbus jet dropped from its cruising altitude of 11.5km to 1.8km, at which point contact was lost. The descent happened roughly 45 minutes into the flight. Contact was lost at 10.53am.

The French aviation regulator has said no distress call was issued. However, there has been some confusion about this point, with others saying a distress call was issued.

A search of the site is to continue today, though the remote location of the crash is making access difficult. Weather conditions have also deteriorated since the crash, as a storm system

moved into the region last night, producing rain, strong winds, and high-elevation snow.

Read more of today’s news here

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