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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Families wiped out in crash
Mourners in Moenchengladbach
Moenchengladbach cries for its victims
The victims of the AF4590 crash include all 109 people on board and five who died on the ground when the plane crashed into the Hotelissimo.

German Concorde victims
49 women and 47 men
3 children died
Paid up to $ 10,000 each
Most were over 60
Oldest victim: 91
Youngest victim: 7
In addition to the 96 German passengers were two Danes, an American and an Australian. The nine crew were all French.

The passengers were flying to New York to join a Caribbean cruise for a "vacation of a lifetime".

Many people were travelling with their spouses, children or elderly parents, and in some cases whole families were wiped out. Three children were among the dead.

This plane crash was different. This time it was our friends, our families, our beloved ones

Monika Bartsch, Moenchengladbach Mayor
The western German city of Moenchengladbach was the worst hit by the tragedy. Thirteen of its leading citizens, including the director of a business school, a furniture shop owner and the head of a security company, died in the Concorde crash.

Both rich and poor among the dead

Although some of the passengers were local celebrities, others were teachers and post office clerks who had saved up for years for the trip.

As in any other tragedy, behind the names of the victims lie human stories of lives and dreams abruptly cut off.

Moenchengladbach church
1,700 townspeople attended a memorial service on Saturday

  • Kurt Kahle, 51, died in the crash with his 37-year-old wife and son Michael, aged eight. Mr Kahle ran a private business school. "He was well liked, always laughed and had a smile. He knew how to live life to the full," said a friend, Dieter Beines.

  • Christian Eich, 57, an engineer who ran carmaker BMW's museum, his wife and two children and his wife's parents were also among the victims.

  • German property magnate Andreas Schranner, 64, his wife Maria, 62, their daughter Andrea Eich, 38, her husband Christian, 57, and their children Katharina, eight, and Maximilian, 10, all perished in the jet.

    Moenchengladbach mourners
    Friends and relatives mourn the dead

  • Society photographer Christian Goetz, 60, and his wife Irene Vogt-Goetz, 59, had both conquered cancer and had booked the trip to celebrate a new life together.

  • Bundesliga football trainer Rudi Fassnacht, 66, and his wife Sigrid, 63, from Cologne.

  • Middle-aged Rolf and Doris Maldry and Klaus and Margret Frentzen. Modest school teachers, they had saved for the Concorde trip for years. For the Frentzens, it was going to be the honeymoon they did not take before their three children were born.

    Crash debris
    Forensic experts examine the debris of the Air France Concorde at the crash site near Paris

  • Concorde pilot Christian Marty, 54, who qualified as a Concorde pilot a year ago. "He was a great professional, who was able to see the wider situation and who had an enormous capacity to analyse a problem clearly," said French accident investigator, François Grange.

    "He was not someone who would allow himself to be influenced unduly or who would have had a knee-jerk reaction to a problem."

  • AF4590 co-pilot Jean Marcot broke the round-the-world flying record in Concorde in 1992 in 33 hours one minute.

Saved by a cardiac arrest

Others stories from the tragedy also include news of people who escaped death.

Guenter Pfitzman
Actor Guenter Pfitzman: a heart attack saved him
A prominent Berlin actor, Guenter Pfitzmann, was booked aboard the plane but cancelled at the last moment because of heart problems.

Herr Pfitzmann, 76, is known in Germany for starring in the medical drama The Buelowbogen Practice.

"It is terrible to think that we might have been aboard that plane," his wife said. "Our hearts go out to the families of the dead."

Another 33 German passengers booked on the same cruise escaped death. Because of the limited seating aboard the Concorde, they were sent to New York on another supersonic flight before the accident.

The Concorde Crash

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash





See also:

31 Jul 00 | Europe
27 Jul 00 | Europe
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