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German Students on Plane Mourned; Teens Had Just Finished Exchange Program

Image: German Students on Plane Mourned; Teens Had Just Finished Exchange Program
Burning candles and pins of German airlines Condor, Germanwings and Lufthansa (L-R) are placed by crew members in commemoration of the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the Germanwings headquarters at Cologne-Bonn airport March 25, 2015. (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 10:13 AM

Sixteen German exchange students who had just completed a weeklong trip to Spain were among the 150 killed in Tuesday's Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, according to new information about the victims.

The group of students and two teachers were from Joseph Koenig High School in Haltern, The Guardian reported. They had spent the week with fellow 14- and 15-year-old students at the Giola Institute in Spain.

"I'm almost speechless here," Joseph Koenig headmaster Ulrich Wessel said, according to CNN. "Tuesday, a week ago, we had 16 happy people and there were two young teacher colleagues. Many students can't really understand what happened. These were their mates."

Martí Pujol i Casals — mayor of Llinars del Vallès, the Spanish town where the German students stayed — told The Guardian that residents were stunned by news of the crash.

"They're completely distraught," he said the Catalan students who accompanied the German teenagers while they were in Spain. "They spent 24 hours a day with these kids this week."

Psychologists associated with the Red Cross have traveled to Llinars del Vallès to counsel the students there.

"You have this child staying in your home, you take them on excursions to Barcelona and in the end you've looked after this child as if it were your own for the week — there's a lot of pain in this community today," Pujol i Casals told The Guardian.

Germanwings Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf left at 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, but went into an unexpected descent after reaching its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, according to The Guardian. Contact with the plane was severed at 10:53 a.m.

In total, onboard the plane there were 72 German citizens, 35 Spanish, two people each from Australia, Argentina, Iran, Venezuela, and the U.S., and one person each from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, and Israel, The Associated Press reported, noting that some could have dual nationalities.

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Sixteen German exchange students who had just completed a weeklong trip to Spain were among the 150 killed in Tuesday's Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, according to new information about the victims.
german, students, plane, crash, germanwings
326
2015-13-25
Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 10:13 AM
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