Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another flight, another tragedy

All 150 passengers and crew on an Airbus A320 flying from Barcelona to Düsseldorf are believed to have died after it rapidly lost height and began an as yet an unexplained descent into a remote and mountainous area of southern France. The dead are believed to include 45 Spanish and 67 German nationals, and 16 students together with their 2 teachers who were returning from a student exchange program in Spain. The students were from Joseph-Koenig school in Haltern, just north of Dusseldorf, western Germany.

Ulrike Kellner reports, 'We all are shocked and mourning'. 

Two girls hug as they cry beside candles and flowers placed in front of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium in Haltern, western Germany Tuesday, March 24, 2015. There were 16 students and 2 teachers from Haltern among the 150 people on board.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said she would travel to the crash site on Wednesday, said the crash had plunged Germany, France and Spain into “deep mourning”. Spain’s King Felipe VI said he was cancelling his state visit to France to return to Spain.
The remote location of the crash makes access difficult and conditions are expected to deteriorate over the next 12 hours as a storm system moves into the region, producing rain, strong winds and high-elevation snow, complicating any investigation and recovery of bodies.

You may know that Dusseldorf is the airport closest to Kaiserswerth, the 'cradle of diakonia', where Theodor Fliedner (and his wife Friederike) established the Deaconess motherhouse. The DIAKONIA Executive met in Kaiserswerth in July 2014. 

Lord, we are deeply saddened at the news so many have lost their lives so suddenly. We pray for those who have been devastated by this tragedy. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. We can only imagine the trauma and devastation they are experiencing. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for comfort and strength. We pray also for those emergency workers dealing with the trauma of recovering bodies, in a difficult location. Grant them courage to face the daunting task that lies before them. We pray as well for the people of Germany and Spain and other nations who mourn the loss of their citizens. We offer our prayers and the deep sorrow of our hearts seeking some consolation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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