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Bishop Innes prays for plane-crash families

27 March 2015

REUTERS

High-school victims: Ulrich Wessel, the Principal of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium school in Haltern am See, which lost 16 pupils and two teachers in the plane crash in the French Alps, gives an interview at his school after a news conference on Wednesday

High-school victims: Ulrich Wessel, the Principal of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium school in Haltern am See, which lost 16 pupils and two teachers in ...

THE Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, has added his prayers to those of Christians across Europe for those who were killed when their plane crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday.

Bishop Innes said in a statement on Tuesday that he was "deeply saddened" to hear of the loss of the Germanwings Airbus A320, in which 150 people are believed to have died, including three from Britain.

"It is particularly distressing that many of those who lost their lives were young people," Bishop Innes said. "We pray for God's peace and comfort for those who grieve. We are aware that their lives have been changed for ever by what has happened."

The Bishop was in an interfaith meeting at the European Parliament when he was told of the news, and said that the meeting began with a minute's silence in memory of those who died.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash, but it has been revealed that the pilots put the aeroplane, en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, into an eight-minute rapid descent before the crash. Investigators have found the flight recorder among the wreckage, but it is badly damaged.

In a message to the Bishop of the region where the plane crashed, the Pope said that he was joining the grieving of the families of those who died, and was praying for the victims. "Having learned of the tragic plane crash in the region of Digne, which caused many casualties, including many children, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in the grief of the families, expressing his closeness to them in sorrow," the message read. "He expresses his deep sympathy for all those touched by this tragedy."

A group of 16 German schoolchildren from one class in the town of Haltern am See, believed to be on a school trip, were passengers on the plane when it went down over the French Alps. A Roman Catholic church in Haltern Am See was left open all night for mourners to come and pay their respects, light candles, or sign a book of condolence.

The World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches have both issued statements expressing their sadness at the disaster, and calling for Christians to pray for the victims and their families.

Attempts to recover the bodies, and investigate why the plane came down, were continuing as the Church Times went to press, but were hampered by a lack of road access to the site.

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