Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A black ribbon showing the flight number of Germanwings flight 4U9525 is displayed at the Dom cathedral, ahead of a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany.

Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

The Germanwings crash last month was an "unbelievable horror" for the families of those killed, compounded by the apparent senselessness of the co-pilot's actions in bringing down the plane, German President Joachim Gauck told hundreds of victims' relatives and dignitaries at a memorial service Friday.

Gauck said people across Germany, which lost 72 citizens, are still coming to grips with the March 24 crash. The second-biggest group of victims was from Spain, which lost 51 citizens.

Prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps on the way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, killing all 150 aboard. They are still trying to determine why.

Story continues below advertisement

"We really don't know what was going through his head during those deciding seconds, in the deciding minutes," Gauck told the congregation that also included Chancellor Angela Merkel, ministers from Spain and France, and the heads of Germanwings and its parent airline, Lufthansa.

"But we do know that his relatives also lost on March 24 a person whom they loved, who leaves a void in their lives – in a way for which they can find as little sense as all of the others' relatives," Gauck said. "Maybe that is what appalled us so much, the senselessness of what took place."

The steps to the altar were covered with 150 lighted candles, one for each person who died, including Lubitz.

"It's not for us to judge," Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, told Bild newspaper about the decision to include a candle for the co-pilot.

A choir sang hymns, and religious leaders said multidenominational prayers.

Lufthansa carried a livestream on its website and took out full-page advertisements in many of the country's leading newspapers expressing sympathy. Flags were ordered flown at half-staff around the country.

Woelki told victims' relatives that words alone were too weak to give them any solace, but that they should take comfort in the numbers of people at the memorial service, and those following it online or on television.

Story continues below advertisement

"You are not alone in these hours of loneliness," he said.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies