Remains of all 150 Germanwings crash victims are ID’d

Greg Keller
Associated Press

Paris — The remains of all 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps will be turned over to their families for burial now that investigators have completed the process of identifying them.

Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin said Tuesday that death certificates for everyone aboard the doomed Airbus A320 jet have been signed and turned over to officials at German airline Lufthansa, parent company of the low-cost airline.

Authorities say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the Barcelona-Duesseldorf flight into a mountain, but are still puzzling over why. Investigators say Lubitz, who had suffered from suicidal tendencies and depression in the past, locked the captain out of the plane’s cockpit on March 24 and sent the Airbus hurtling into a mountain, killing everyone on board.

Not a single intact body was found. Investigators collected all the human remains from the site about a week after the crash, then spent weeks carefully matching them with DNA profiles of the passengers and crew. The matches were based on material provided by their families — dental and surgical records, tattoos, hairbrushes, toothbrushes.

Robert Tansill Oliver, the father of victim Robert Oliver Calvo, said he and his wife received notification DNA was matched with remains of their son, plus a form to fill out so they can have the remains sent to Spain in June. They were also invited to Paris to identify possible passenger belongings.

The elder Oliver, a retired American teacher who has lived in Barcelona since the 1960s, said he had no complaints about the length of time it took to complete identification.

“I’m happy they have taken their time,” Oliver said. “I hope they have done the job correctly. Better to get it done right than quickly.”

They plan to arrange a funeral for their son after his remains are returned.