Most of the 144 passengers on the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday morning were German nationals going home after a few days in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, said a spokesperson for Swissport, the airline’s ground handling company.
The passengers of Flight GWI9525 also included two workers from the German pharmaceutical Bayer and representatives of several Catalan or Catalan-based companies on their way to a food industry fair in Cologne.
Also on the list of passengers was a group of 16 German exchange students who were going home after a stay in Llinars del Vallès. The local high school has confirmed that the Catalan students had been in Germany a few weeks ago.
The accident caused shock among the families in Llinars del Vallès who had hosted the German students, all aged 14 and 15. “It has been hugely distressing,” said one parent.
A man from Lorca, Murcia is also among the missing. The mayor said he has already been in touch with the family.
A team of psychologists has been dispatched to El Prat airport in Barcelona to provide support to the relatives, who will be asked for DNA samples by the Catalan police’s scientific unit to help with the body identification.
The first friends and relatives began arriving at El Prat at noon, walking with tears in their eyes as Mossos d'Esquadra officers escorted them to the area that has been set aside to deal with the crisis.
“I am here to provide emotional support to a colleague, though I don’t know whether it will do much good,” said Jordi Campoy, an acquaintance of the two Bayer workers who died in the crash.