German govt should compensate crash victims' families - airline

2015-06-29 17:07
A wreath is set up in front of the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. (Frank Augstein, AP)

A wreath is set up in front of the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. (Frank Augstein, AP)

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Frankfurt - People who lost relatives and loved ones in March's Germanwings crash in France should turn to the German government for damages, a spokesperson for the airline's parent company, Lufthansa, said on Monday.

French and German prosecutors have said that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew Germanwings flight 4U 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, killing 150, most likely amid issues with depression and worries about his health.

Prosecutors have so far not suggested that either airline faces charges in the crash.

Lufthansa has, however, already provided $55 500 in assistance per victim to surviving family members. Nonetheless, several groups have begun to consider lawsuits against the airline.

But an airline official said on Monday that, under German law, victims of acts of violence are supposed to turn to the state for reparations. The law, according to the airline, also applies to acts of violence that occur on planes owned by German concerns.

Christof Wellens, an attorney working with the 60 relatives of 15 flight 4U 9525 victims, said he was confused by the announcement.

"I don't know what to do with this information," he said, calling the offer unhelpful. He said, as far as he knew, conversations about civil suits had only just begun.

The Lufthansa spokesperson said relatives and their lawyers will be notified about the way forward. However, he did note that damages owed under German law could be different depending upon the nationality of the victim. Only about half the victims were German.

Germany's Transportation Ministry and the German Aviation Administration are set on Tuesday to release a report on lessons learned in the wake of the crash.

Read more on:    germanwings  |  lufthansa  |  germany  |  germanwings crash

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