Free Press Journal

Families of Germanwings crash victims meet investigators


Germanwings crash probe

Paris: Families of victims of the Germanwings plane crash were meeting today with investigators in Paris, looking for answers about why the co-pilot apparently slammed the plane into an Alpine mountainside and when their loved ones’ remains and belongings will return home. The meeting, which was to also cover the delicate issue of compensation, comes the same week that the first remains were returned to families. All 150 people on board were killed in the March 24 crash.

Escorted by security guards and police, four busloads of relatives left a Paris hotel for a meeting with Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin and other French officials. Robin is leading the investigation of the crash of the Airbus A320. German lawyer Peter Kortas, whose firm represents relatives of 34 victims, said negotiations with Germanwings about compensation began several days ago. Families were also seeking answers about delays in the return of victims’ remains.

“In this moment everything else is not as important as the fact that the bodies, (the) remains be returned to their families,” Kortas said. “It’s already more than two and a half months since the crash happened, so it’s finally necessary to get to closure.”

“The loss of the relatives should be compensated with also a suitable amount of money,” he added. “There are two points in these negotiations: First, the material loss for the material damages, and it is also about damages for pain and suffering.”

French and German prosecutors say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew Flight 9525 into the French Alps en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. German authorities have said he suffered depression in the past and had researched suicide methods.

The first burial is expected Friday. Nearly half of the victims were German, 47 were Spanish and there were 17 nationalities among the remainder. In Germany yesterday, a convoy of hearses brought home the remains of a group of high school students and their teachers to the town of Haltern. Hundreds of people, some hugging and crying, lined the streets to pay their respects.