Germanwings flight 4U9525 crash: Lufthansa to fly victims' relatives to France on Thursday

BARCELONA (AFP) - Lufthansa will arrange for two flights to leave from Spain and Germany on Thursday to take family members of the victims of the Germanwings plane crash to southern France so they can visit the accident site, the airline's boss said.

"We have been organising with the French authorities the possibility for those relatives who want to get closer to the place of the accident to do so tomorrow," Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference on Wednesday.

"To this effect we will have a special Lufthansa flight tomorrow morning from Barcelona leaving at 8.45am (3.45pm Singapore time) to Marseille," he added.

"This will have the support of the French authorities who will be able to bring the relatives and friends of the victims to a family assistance centre near the crash site which is still locked off and will remain locked off."

Another plane will depart from the German city of Duesseldorf to the southern French city of Marseille, he added.

That flight will depart at 8.40am (3.40pm Singapore time), Lufthansa said in a statement.

"Within the safety parameters of the investigation, relatives who decide to travel to Marseille will be taken to a location as close to the accident site as possible," the statement said.

The Germanwings Airbus A320 was travelling from Barcelona to Duesseldorf when it crashed Tuesday in difficult mountain terrain in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

Germanwings is a low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa.

Officials in Spain said at least 51 Spaniards had been killed in the accident, and Germanwings said at least 72 Germans were dead, including 16 teenagers returning home from a school trip.

"I just returned from meeting the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives yesterday and this meeting is hard to describe in words, it was very, very emotional for all of us," said Spohr.

"What they have gone through is of course incomprehensible and it was difficult to be there," he added.

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