1,400 mourners join memorial for Germanwings crash victims

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki (C) and Annette Kurschus (R) leader of the Evangelical Church in Germany address a memorial service for the 150 people killed in the Germanwings plane crash in the Cathedral in Cologne, western Germany on April 17, 2015. AFP Photo

Grieving relatives joined political and religious leaders April 17 for a sombre German state memorial service for the victims of last month's Germanwings crash in the French Alps, blamed on a depressed co-pilot.
Flags flew at half-mast nationwide for the 150 dead during the ecumenical service at Cologne's historic cathedral attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck along with officials from France and Spain.
A white flag emblazoned with a black cross hung outside the cathedral, while in front of the altar 150 candles were lit, one for each of those killed.
The service at northern Europe's largest Gothic church was also broadcast live on screens outside the cathedral and to viewers nationwide as Germany observed a day of mourning.
The archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, and the head of the Protestant Church of Westphalia, Annette Kurschus, led the service.
"So many tears have been shed in the last weeks," Kurschus told those assembled.
"It is good when we can weep with each other, and for each other."       

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had been diagnosed as suicidal in the past, is believed to have intentionally flown the plane into the mountainside after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.
He was receiving treatment from neurologists and psychiatrists who had signed him off sick from work a number of times, including the day of the crash.
Aviation industry doctors have since demanded that German pilots undergo more extensive medical checks, while several airlines worldwide have changed rules to require two crew in cockpits at all times.
Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr, a...

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