A Germanwings passenger jet carrying 150 people and heading to Germany crashed mystically after departing from Barcelona. The plane was later found in the French alps.
In the aftermath of the crash in the French Alps of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf on Tuesday, the nationalities of the 150 passengers aboard are emerging, although many have not been confirmed.
The Associated Press is reporting that 72 German citizens, 35 Spaniards and 2 Americans were onboard with a handful from other countries around the world. Colombia, Argentina and Mexico have confirmed that two citizens from each country were aboard.
The Argentinians onboard were a couple – Sebastián Gabriel Greco and Gabriela Luján Maumus, both 28 – from Buenos Aires. According to La Nación, Maumus was the bass player for the band Asalto al Parque Zoológico (Zoo Assault).
Gabriela Luján Maumus (Photo: via Facebook)
The Colombians included María del Pilar Tejada, 33, who was traveling back to Germany where she was completing her doctorate in economics, and the architect Luis Eduardo Medrano Aragon, 36, who worked in Equatorial Guinea and was traveling through Europe.
Also in news about the crash, executives, pilots and employees of German airline Lufthansa have held a moment of silence at company headquarters for the 150 people who died in the Germanwings crash.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, himself a pilot, observed the ceremony Wednesday at the company's main base. He said it was "a very emotional moment, to stand there with so many colleagues in uniform."
He said the company's first priority was helping the relatives of those who died.
He said it was "inexplicable for us, how an airplane in good mechanical condition, with two experienced, Lufthansa-trained pilots, could encounter such a tragedy from cruising altitude."
One of the plane's black boxes has been recovered, and authorities are investigating.
Germany's top security official says there is no evidence at this stage that foul play was involved.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that "according to the latest information there is no hard evidence that the crash was intentionally brought about by third parties."
He says that authorities are nevertheless investigating all possible causes for the crash.
In Spain, flags flew at half-staff on government buildings and a minute of silence was held at legislative and government buildings across the country in memory of the Germanwings crash victims. Spain's national parliament canceled its normal Wednesday session out of respect.
Barcelona's Liceu opera house held two minutes of silence at noon in homage to two opera singers — Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner — who took the flight after performing at the theater last weekend.
In the small northeastern town of Llinars del Valles, parents and children attended a memorial service at the Giola Institute for the 16 German high school students and their two teachers who had been on an exchange program there for a week before boarding the plane. A minute of silence was held at the town hall at midday.
The principal of the German high school where 16 students and two teachers died in the Germanwings crash says "nothing will be the way it was at our school anymore."
Ulrich Wessel, principal of the Joseph Koenig High School, said Wednesday that when the first call came about the crash, he hoped that the students had missed the plane.
But the regional governor informed local officials that they were on the passenger list.
Wessel says one of the teachers who was on the plane had been married for less than six months.
He said: "It is a tragedy that makes one speechless and we will have to learn to deal with it."
Wessel added: "I was asked yesterday how many students there are at the high school in Haltern, and I said 1,283 without thinking — then had to say afterward, unfortunately 16 fewer since yesterday. And I find that so terrible."
The students had been on a week-long exchange program in the town of Llinars del Valles, Spain.
A second group of about 30 German exchange students is still in Llinars del Valles at a different high school.
An administrator for the Institut Ginebro says the students are from the Hamburg area and were scheduled to leave Llinars del Valles, but that teachers are considering delaying the departure in the wake of the crash.
The administrator spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because she was not authorized to speak publicly.
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 their classmates and two teachers who died in the crash.
Lara Beer says her best friend, Paula, was aboard the aircraft.
Wiping tears from her eyes, the 14-year-old Beer says she was waiting for the train her friend was supposed to be on, but went home when she saw Paula wasn't on it.
She says: "That's when my parents told me Paula was dead."
School classes have been cancelled but students are being encouraged to come in to talk with counsellors and friends. The crash of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf killed 150 people.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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