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BBC's Berlin correspondent Rob Broomby
"Plans are now underway to fly the families to the scene of the crash"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK
Germany stunned by Concorde crash
Crash site
Few parts of the plane were recognisable
Germany has reacted with horror to the Concorde crash in Paris.


Germany and France are united in their horror over the accident, in mourning for the victims and in sympathy for their families

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
With Germans accounting for the overwhelming majority of passengers on board, the country's leaders reacted quickly to the news, expressing sorrow and condolences.

Crisis centres and hotlines were swiftly set up in Berlin and at the embassy in Paris to help the country cope with one of the worst tragedies ever involving German tourists.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he was "shaken" by the disaster and cancelled appointments for the evening to stay abreast of events, a spokesman said.

"Germany and France are united in their horror over the accident, in mourning for the victims and in sympathy for their families," he said.

Schoeder
Schroeder said he was "shaken" by the news
He said his transport minister, Rheinhard Klimmt, was heading to the scene of the crash near Charles de Gaulle airport.

The German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer spoke to his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine by telephone, authorities said.

Mr Schroeder and the entire German Cabinet will attend an ecumenical service for the victims of the crash on Wednesday morning in a chapel at the Expo 2000 world fair in Hanover.

Luxury cruise trip

A helpline staffed by 30 people set up in Berlin received thousands of calls within a first few hours of the crash, most from members of the public anxious to know if their loved ones were on the flight.

A German Foreign Office spokesman said the vast majority of the families of the 99 passengers who died had been contacted by the end of Tuesday evening.

The dead, including three children, came from across the country.

The plane had been chartered by the German operator Peter Dielmann Shipping Company.

MS Deutschland
About a fifth of the 500 passengers booked for the MS Deutschland were on the plane
The passengers were flying to New York to join the company's luxury cruise ship MS Deutschland.

The five-star cruise ship is scheduled to leave on Wednesday with the 400 remaining passengers for a 16-day passage through the Caribbean and on to Ecuador.

The ship, built in the lavish style of the 1920s, featured in a well-known German TV series.

Big spenders

The crash is not the worst in the country's history.

Renate Wallert
German tourist Renate Wallert was held by Philippine rebels for three months
Germans made up most of the 189 people killed when a plane crashed off the Dominican Republic in 1996.

Recently, the potential dangers involved in foreign travel were brought home with the seizing of German tourists by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines.

Sick German housewife Renate Wallert, 56, was released just last week after three months of jungle captivity.

Germans are renowned for their travelling and spending on tourism.

Last year, they spent nearly $43bn abroad.

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