herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Sense of shock at crash site as families of victims begin to arrive

Lufthansa and Germanwings employees observe a minute of silence to remember the plane crash victims at the airport in Duesseldorf, Thursday March 26, 2015
Lufthansa and Germanwings employees observe a minute of silence to remember the plane crash victims at the airport in Duesseldorf, Thursday March 26, 2015
Travelers observe a minute of silence to remember the plane crash victims as they queue at the airport in Duesseldorf, Thursday March 26, 2015

Seyne was a very different place this morning as news broke that one of the two pilots on the Germanwings flight had been locked out of the cockpit just before the plane crashed.

The contents of audio files recovered from the crash site show that one of the pilots was banging down the door, just minutes before the plane crashed into the French Alps.

"This is being taken very seriously, not as a rumour, but it is still not confirmed," Ani Basar from BFMTV told the Herald.

She is reporting for France's main TV station from the base camp.

"It is a bit of a surprise that the New York Times has this information and nobody in France has it," she added.

"We have a specialist here who has contacts in the investigation team and talks to the search and rescue people and he cannot get it confirmed."

Day three of the search for the bodies of the 150 on board the plane had begun with reports that the casing of the second black box had been found, but with no sign of is contents.

But at 5am this morning, people were waking up to the news that one of the pilots had been locked out of the cockpit of the doomed plane as it headed into the mountainous ravines. The news came as relatives of the victims began arriving at the crash site today.

"There will be two ceremonies today for the families. One will be after lunch and one is tonight at 7.30pm at the base camp," explained a French police officer this morning.

Media have been asked to respect the privacy of all the families, and there is no liaison officer at the crash site, only helicopters and rescue teams.

"This is an emergency operation in the very early stages," added the officer.

Crash2.jpg
Travelers observe a minute of silence to remember the plane crash victims as they queue at the airport in Duesseldorf, Thursday March 26, 2015

It is impossible to access the deep ravines where the debris of the plane is currently scattered.

The only way in and out is by helicopter. Helicopters can be seen flying in and out of the site every few minutes.

Relatives of the victims started providing DNA samples yesterday to help in the formal identification of passengers and crew, who come from 15 countries.

Ms Basar said there is agreement within the French media not to approach family members when they arrive today.

"Unless they come to us and want to talk, we will not go to them," she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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