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article imageGermanwings victims' remains to be repatriated next week: lawyer

By AFP     Jun 5, 2015 in World

The remains of some of those killed when a Germanwings flight was deliberately crashed into the French Alps will be returned next week as planned, their relatives' lawyer said Friday after families angrily complained about the delay.

Relatives of around half the 16 teenagers from the northwestern town of Haltern who died have been informed by the airline that their bodies will be repatriated on June 10, the lawyer, Elmar Giemulla, said.

That would permit burials to take place as originally planned, he said in an emailed statement.

"For these families a painful and completely needless problem has therefore been solved in good time," he wrote.

It follows an angry letter of complaint by the relatives of the Haltern victims to parent company Lufthansa over a delay due to administrative problems.

"The anger and despair are increasing," wrote the families of the 16 youngsters who were among the 150 people killed in the crash in a letter to Lufthansa.

Investigators say the Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz  who had a history of severe depression  i...
Investigators say the Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had a history of severe depression, intentionally downed the plane in the French Alps
, Foto Team Mueller/AFP/File

Lufthansa confirmed that a plane would arrive from Marseille in Duesseldorf on June 9 with 30 coffins of victims on board, and that their handover would take place the following day.

"The return transportation of the victims was initially foreseen for an earlier time. At short notice however there was a delay due to administrative requirements," the airline said in a statement.

Other victims of the March 24 crash will be gradually returned to their homes in the coming weeks, it added.

The first burials of the Haltern students, who were flying back from an exchange trip to Spain when the co-pilot crashed the jet, had already been planned for June 12, the lawyer had said earlier.

Contacted by AFP Thursday, Germanwings confirmed that mistakes had occurred in the issuing of death certificates, whose validity had expired and had to be re-issued, leading to an "interruption."

The mayor of the French village of Prads-Haute-Bleone, near the crash site, who signed the death certificates, said there had been slight spelling errors "of foreign-sounding names" on six or seven of the documents.

"All the certificates left three weeks ago and as soon as we get the corrections requested by the prosecutor we will carry them out."

Marseille city prosecutor Brice Robin told AFP he would meet families of the victims in Paris next Thursday to discuss the "repatriation of the bodies" and the "return of personal effects."

Investigators only last month finished identifying the remains of all 150 people aboard the flight that crashed en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

They say that 27-year-old German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had a history of severe depression, intentionally downed the plane.

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