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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.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

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.

Violent storms have hit western Germany killing at least six people overnight.

In the worst incident, three died when a tree fell on a garden shed in Duesseldorf where they had sought shelter, emergency services said.

Cyclists were also killed by falling trees in Cologne and Krefeld and a sixth person died while clearing a street in Essen.

The storms ended a heatwave that lasted throughout the Whitsun weekend holiday.

Violent storms have hit western Germany killing at least six people overnight

Violent storms have hit western Germany killing at least six people overnight (photo Reuters)

Public transport was badly hit in much of North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday morning, and authorities urged people to avoid Duesseldorf, where trains, roads and the airport were all affected.

During the night, emergency services removed the bodies of three people from a garden shed in the city. Three other people who had taken refuge in the shed were injured, two of them seriously. Several others were hurt elsewhere in the city.

Streets in Duesseldorf were blocked by fallen trees and there was damage to overhead power lines. The tram system was reportedly suspended.

There were traffic jams on 165 miles of the region’s roads during the morning rush hour, local broadcasters reported.

Winds of up to 93mph were recorded at Duesseldorf airport on Tuesday night and the storm was continuing to move north-east, towards areas north and west of Berlin, forecasters said.

“We must reckon that the total damage will run into double-digit millions,” North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger told German media.

“That was one of the worst storms to hit (the region) in the past 20 years.”

Lower Saxony to the north has also suffered heavy damage.

Temperatures of up to 97F were recorded in Germany at the weekend, the highest ever recorded for the time of year.

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