Exchange students on Germanwings flight mourned at school in Spain

Among the 150 passengers onboard the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps were 16 high school students returning from an exchange program in Spain, a German official said.

The students, 14 and 15-year-olds, had been on a weeklong exchange at the Giola Institute located in Llinars del Vallès, about 45 minutes northwest of Barcelona. They were all from Haltern, a tiny town in northern Germany.

The Spanish students who shared the victims' last week are in shock, according to Giola Institute officials interviewed by the Spanish El País newspaper.

“The impact has been very strong. Bear in mind that for a week they have been together 24 hours a day", said Rosa María García, a teacher there.

She said a team from the Red Cross is helping the students at the school deal with the tragedy, while the city of Llinars del Vallès is planning acts of homage to the young victims.

North Rhine-Westphalia state Education Minister Sylvia Loerhmann confirmed Tuesday that "the school group boarded the plane," the DPA news agency reported.

Police in Llinars del Vallès said they are still waiting on official confirmation that the students have been killed but have already sent staff to the school to assist students and teachers.

Meanwhile, El Mundo newspaper is reporting that some of the victims were Spanish employees of the German pharmaceutical company, Bayer, who took the flight regularly.

Another group of passengers were on their way to a food fair, Anuga FoodTec, that's held every three years in Cologne, Germany.

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