Burial for the un­known

Ger­man­wings fam­i­lies hon­our uniden­ti­fied crash re­mains at Alpine vil­lage

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS | WORLD -

The fam­i­lies of those killed in the Ger­man­wings plane crash re­leased white bal­loons into the air Fri­day, hold­ing a cer­e­mony in the French Alpine vil­lage ex­actly four months af­ter the plane’s co-pi­lot crashed the Air­bus 320 into a nearby moun­tain.

The in­ter-re­li­gious ser­vice un­der a tent hon­oured those whose bod­ies went uniden­ti­fied. Those re­mains were buried on Thurs­day night at the nearby Le Ver­net ceme­tery, but fam­i­lies vis­ited the grave at the close of the ser­vice as the bal­loons floated sky­ward.

French pros­e­cu­tors say copi­lot An­dreas Lu­b­itz locked the pi­lot out of the cock­pit on the March 24 flight from Barcelona to Dues­sel­dorf, then set the air­craft on its doomed course. All 150 peo­ple aboard the plane died, mostly Ger­man and Span­ish.

Robert Tan­sill Oliver and Merivel Calvo, par­ents of 36-year old vic­tim Robert Oliver Calvo, thanked the gen­darmes who scoured the moun­tain for what they said ended up be­ing 30,000 pieces of re­mains.

“It’s a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion for the fam­i­lies to re­al­ize that all the re­mains could not be handed over but just some parts, that there is a grave here as well,” said Christof Wel­lens, a lawyer for fam­i­lies of 34 Ger­man­wings’ vic­tims.

The town sub-pre­fect, Pa­tri­cia Wil­laert, es­ti­mated that 300 fam­ily mem­bers at­tended the ser­vice at the me­mo­rial stone laid near the moun­tain where their loved ones died.

Among those ab­sent was Carsten Spohr, the CEO of Lufthansa, Ger­man­wings’ par­ent com­pany, who de­cided not to at­tend “be­cause of the tense at- mo­sphere that has arisen in re­cent days” as a re­sult of an open let­ter from some vic­tims’ rel­a­tives, com­pany spokesman Hel­mut Tolks­dorf said.

“He does not want to bur­den a dig­ni­fied cer­e­mony with this dis­cus­sion,” Tolks­dorf added.

The com­pany was rep­re­sented at the cer­e­mony by Ger­man­wings chief Thomas Winkel­mann and Lufthansa chief fi­nan­cial of­fer Si­mone Menne.

AP PHOTO

A woman wipes her face as she at­tends a cer­e­mony held for vic­tims of the Ger­man­wings crash in Le Ver­net, French Alps, Fri­day. Fri­day’s cer­e­mony in Le Ver­net took place ex­actly four months af­ter the co-pi­lot is be­lieved to have in­ten­tion­ally crashed the Air­bus 320 into a nearby moun­tain, killing all 150 peo­ple on board.

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