World

German town mourns loss of 16 students, 2 teachers with growing memorial of candles, flowers

  • A student kneels down at candles placed in front of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    A student kneels down at candles placed in front of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

  • School children watch the candles placed in front of their school as they arrive at the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    School children watch the candles placed in front of their school as they arrive at the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

  • Teachers enter the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    Teachers enter the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the day after 16 school children and 2 teachers died in the Germanwings jet airliner crash in the French Alps from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

Students at the main high school in the western German town of Haltern are gathering by an ever-growing memorial of candles and flowers, weeping and hugging as they mourn the loss of 16 classmates and two teachers who died in the crash of a Germanwings flight in the French Alps.

Fourteen-year-old Lara Beer told The Associated Press Wednesday her best friend, Paula, was aboard the aircraft.

Wiping tears from her eyes, she said "I was waiting for the train that Paula was supposed to be on but the train came and Paula wasn't on it, so I went back home and that's when my parents told me Paula was dead."

School classes have been canceled but students are being encouraged to come in to talk with counselors and friends.