The first victims’ remains of Germanwings plane crash have arrived in Dusseldorf, Germany, where they will be returned to families for burial about 11 weeks after the disaster that killed all 150 people onboard.
Lufthansa sent 44 coffins by cargo plane on Tuesday night from Marseille.
Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer for some of the families, said the arrival of the remains would give relatives “closure”.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is believed to have intentionally flown the Airbus A320 into the French Alps in March, killing 150 people.
Sixteen of the victims were from the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium school in Haltern and were returning from an exchange trip in Barcelona when the plane crashed.
Families will be allowed to visit the coffins inside a hangar in Dusseldorf on Wednesday, June 10.
Elmar Giemulla told AFP: “The families are in denial. They cannot and do not want to realize that their children are dead.
“It will be brutal when they see the coffins tomorrow, but it is necessary, because they need closure.”
The remains of the rest of the victims will be sent back over the coming weeks. The passengers were from 18 countries, including Australia, Argentina and Japan, but most of those on board were either Spanish or German.
The repatriation of some of the bodies was delayed last week because of errors on the death certificates in France.