Germanwings crash families accuse airline of ignoring them

AP News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2015 9:49 AM
Germanwings crash families accuse airline of ignoring them

BERLIN (AP) — A group of parents whose children were killed in the Germanwings plane crash in March on Tuesday released a scathing letter to Lufthansa's CEO, accusing him of ignoring their needs and feelings and insulting them with his company's compensation offer.

The parents of 16 students from the town of Haltern accused Carsten Spohr of never having spoken with relatives to apologize — a claim disputed by the airline.

The letter comes amid negotiations with Lufthansa, Germanwings' parent airline, over compensation for the March 24 crash.

Prosecutors believe the Airbus A320 was intentionally crashed into a French mountain by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz killing all 150 people on board the flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. Lufthansa has offered around 100,000 euros ($108,000) per family, depending upon its size.

German lawyer Elmar Giemulla, who represents the Haltern victims, has said the offer is far too low and is seeking at least three times that amount.

In their letter, provided by Giemulla, the parents, along with the fiance and husband of the two teachers who were with the Haltern school group killed in the crash, said Spohr talked to a lot of newspapers, "but you haven't spoken with us."

"You saw us at the memorial service in Haltern and the memorial in Cologne," they wrote. "A couple of personal words would have shown us that you were not only there for the public, but also for us."

They added that Lufthansa's compensation offer "deeply insults us, and above all else our children."

Lufthansa spokesman Andreas Bartels said, however, that Spohr had made every effort to talk with families, and attended not only the services in Haltern and Cologne but also had been to Barcelona and twice to the crash site.

"Mr. Spohr was in touch with many relatives and friends and family of the victims but it's obvious that he was not able to be in personal touch with each and every one of the more than 1,000 relatives that we have," he said.

Parents of the Haltern victims were among those he talked to, and he also sent a condolence letter apologizing to all families, Bartels added.

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Frank Jordans contributed to this story.