Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Advertisement

Families of Germanwings crash victims told: 'You are not alone in these hours of loneliness'

A memorial service was held today in Germany.

Germany France Plane Crash Source: Oliver Berg/Pool Photo via AP

THE GERMANWINGS CRASH last month was an “unbelievable horror” for the families of those killed, compounded by the apparent senselessness of the co-pilot’s actions in bringing down the plane, German President Joachim Gauck told hundreds of victims’ relatives and dignitaries at a memorial service today.

Gauck said people across Germany, which lost 72 citizens, are still coming to grips with the March 24 crash. The second-biggest group of victims was from Spain, which lost 51 citizens.

Prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps on the way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, killing all 150 aboard. They are still trying to determine why.

alemania-funeral Source: AP Foto/Frank Augstein

“We really don’t know what was going through his head during those deciding seconds, in the deciding minutes,” Gauck told the congregation that also included Chancellor Angela Merkel, ministers from Spain and France, and the heads of Germanwings and its parent airline, Lufthansa.

But we do know that his relatives also lost on March 24 a person whom they loved, who leaves a void in their lives — in a way for which they can find as little sense as all of the others’ relatives. Maybe that is what appalled us so much, the senselessness of what took place.

The steps to the altar were covered with 150 lighted candles, one for each person who died, including Lubitz.

“It’s not for us to judge,” Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, told Bild newspaper about the decision to include a candle for the co-pilot.

A choir sang hymns, and religious leaders said multidenominational prayers.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

ALEMANIA-FUNERAL Source: AP Foto/Frank Augstein

Lufthansa carried a livestream on its website and took out full-page advertisements in many of the country’s leading newspapers expressing sympathy. Flags were ordered flown at half-staff around the country.

Woelki told victims’ relatives that words alone were too weak to give them any solace, but that they should take comfort in the numbers of people at the memorial service, and those following it online or on television.

“You are not alone in these hours of loneliness,” he said.

Read: Woman allegedly claimed her relative died in Germanwings crash to get free flights >

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (8)