Germanwings crash victims honoured on eve of anniversary
Hundreds of people in Spain and Germany took part in anniversary vigils Wednesday to mark the loss of the Germanwings airliner which a suicidal pilot crashed into an alpine mountain, killing all 150 on board.
Ceremonies were held at the airports in Barcelona in northwestern Spain, from where the ill-fated plane took off on March 24, 2015, and in Dusseldorf, its intended destination in western Germany.
Dozens of family members of the victims, many dressed in mourning black, joined emergency workers and officials including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at Barcelona airport to remember the dead.
Flags flew at half mast and candles were lit in honour of the victims at the ceremony, which also included cello music.
Commemorative plaques were unveiled at both airports before the families were flown to the site of the crash in the French Alps where another ceremony will be held on Thursday.
“We want to avoid the repetition of catastrophes of this nature,” said the president of an association of Spanish victims of the crash, Silvia Chaves.
“We must work to improve security measures because we all know that in this case, they failed.”
Investigators concluded the co-pilot of the flight, Andreas Lubitz, waited until he was alone in the cockpit about half an hour after the flight took off from Barcelona to deliberately crash the plane.
The 27-year-old had previously been treated for depression and suicidal tendencies and documents seized by prosecutors show he partly hid his medical history from employers.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recommended after the tragedy that airlines enure that at least two crew members, including at least one qualified pilot, are in the flight crew compartment at all times of the flight.
Germanwings and its parent company Lufthansa have denied any wrongdoing in the crash, insisting that the co-pilot had been certified as fit to fly.
The bulk of the victims of the Germanwings crash, 72, were from Germany. Another 50 came from Spain.
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