Town flocks to mourn lost schoolchildren

Town flocks to mourn lost schoolchildren
A black ribbon on a sign in Haltern, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA
President Joachim Gauck arrived in Haltern on Friday to join families and schoolchildren mourning the loss of their classmates and teachers in the Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash.

The President, who cut short a tour of South America to return to Germany, is attending a memorial service for the victims of the crash.

"As we are standing together, we are creating a precious bond of compassion and of mourning together," Gauck told reporters. "I wanted to mourn with them… I could hear the sobbing of children and families."

The Joseph König Gymnasium (secondary school) in Haltern, North Rhine-Westphalia, lost 16 pupils and two teachers returning from a language exchange in Spain on the flight.

Meanwhile, the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament, held a minute of silence for those killed on Tuesday.

“We are deeply affected and shocked by this tragic accident,” Hesse minister-president Volker Bouffier said.

“We can't alleviate the pain of the relatives and friends, but we are with them in our thoughts and empathise with them.”


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