German town lines up to honor teens killed in Alps crash

Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay solemn respect to 16 high school students and two teachers killed in the Germanwings plane crash, as a convoy of hearses brought their remains home for burial Wednesday. Authorities blame the co-pilot of Flight 9525 for deliberately slamming the plane into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people onboard. Lufthansa had flown the remains of the first 44 victims to Duesseldorf late Tuesday. Parents and relatives of the students viewed the coffins inside an airport hangar before bringing their loved ones home to Haltern, 75 kilometers (46 miles) to the northeast. The slow-moving convoy of hearses — white ones for the students, black ones for the teachers — was accompanied by a police motorcade and a bus carrying further relatives.

After so many weeks of waiting, particularly for the relatives, we are happy that we have them back home in our town again.

Haltern Mayor Bodo Klimpel

The group was flying back from Barcelona to Duesseldorf when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and slammed the plane against a mountainside, according to authorities. Earlier, students in Haltern had placed white roses for their dead friends on the sidewalk next to the school. They also lit white candles on the school yard, where 18 trees were recently planted as a memorial to the deceased. Wessel said psychologists had talked to the students earlier this week and that all students would be allowed to attend their schoolmates’ funerals. The first burials will be held Friday, the last ones at the end of the month.