German students, teachers thought to be aboard crashed plane

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(CNN) — At least 16 high school students and two teachers from the town of Haltern, Germany, are believed to be among the 150 people who were on a commercial plane that crashed Tuesday in the French Alps.

In this story

  • German and French leader says it's unlikely any of 150 on board survived
  • Official: At least 16 German students, 2 teachers booked on the flight, but unclear if they were on boardDigne-les-Bains

The Germanwings Airbus A320 plane carrying 144 passengers and six crew members was bound for Dusseldorf, Germany. It went down in southeastern France.

French President Francois Hollande has said that it’s unlikely anyone survived.

Spain’s King Felipe VI said the same and added that a “high numbers of Spaniards, Germans and Turks” were on the aircraft.

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said that there were at least 67 Germans on board, but cautioned that figure could change as new information comes to light.

Weeping relatives arrived throughout the day at Barcelona’s airport. Terminal 2 was blocked off for them, Spain’s air transportation agency said. Medics and psychologists are there in the private space to assist families, CNN’s Karl Penhaul reported from the airport.

The German high school students and teachers possibly aboard are from Joseph Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern. They were booked on the flight, but authorities don’t yet know if the group was aboard, according to Florian Adamik of Haltern city hall where a crisis center has been established.

But Sylvia Loehrmann, education minister of North Rhine Westfalia, told German TV that she believes the students and teachers were on the plane. “Because of the passenger list, we know that two colleagues were on this list, so that we can say with relative certainty that we have these victims,” she said.

Loehrmann is planning to visit the school on Wednesday.

El Pais is reporting the German students were returning to their home country after spending a week at the Giola Institute, in the town of Llinars del Valles, near Barcelona.

German President Joachim Gauck said he is ending his trip in South America to return to Berlin.

In Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Gauck conveyed condolences to loved ones of the victims. “I hope they find consolation in this difficult time,” he said.

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