Curt Jarant's family denied knowing he was dead
An airport worker who helped two women lift the body of a dead relative from a taxi, before they tried to check him in for a flight, said he knew he was dead.
Gitta Jarant and Anke Anusic tried to check in the body of Curt Willi Jarant for a flight to Berlin at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Saturday.
They said they thought the 91-year-old, who was wearing sunglasses and was in a wheelchair, was asleep.
Andrew Millea said the man's face fell against his, and it was "ice cold".
"I knew straight away that the man was dead, but they reassured me that he 'always sleeps like that'," he said.
Airport worker Andrew Millea: "They were insisting he was asleep"
Mr Millea said he alerted security staff at the airport and the family was led to a side room where first-aid staff confirmed the man was dead.
Mrs Jarant, 66, and Mrs Anusic, 41, were arrested on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death. They have been bailed until 1 June, police said.
The pair, who are German nationals living in Oldham, have denied Mr Jarant - a former pilot - had died 24 hours earlier and that they had transported his body by taxi to the airport.
Asked why Mr Jarant, who had Alzheimer's, was wearing sunglasses, Mrs Anusic said it was because he had an unsightly eye and they did not want fellow travellers staring at him.
"So many people had seen him in the previous 24 hours," she said.
"We had checked his temperature and checked his wellbeing.
"The accusations are wrong.
"Willi had been eating and had no fever.
"He was warm and wasn't in an emergency situation."
A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out in the next few days, police said.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport declined to comment while the police investigation was ongoing.