Police have arrested two women after they tried to take the body of a dead relative on to a plane at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Staff became suspicious when they tried to check in 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant, who was wearing sunglasses, for a flight to Berlin on Saturday.
The women - his widow and step-daughter - said they thought he was asleep.
They were arrested on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death, police said.
The pair, who are German nationals but live in Oldham, Greater Manchester, have been released on bail until 1 June.
It is understood they took Mr Jarant to the airport in a taxi.
'Moving and breathing'
Asked to describe her late husband, who she called Willi, Gitta Jarant said: "[He was] the best man of the world - good man.
"I [did not] kill my Willi. My Willi is my god. I [have loved] my Willi for 22 years."
Mr Jarant's step-daughter Anke Anusic added: "They would think that for 24 hours we would carry a dead person? This is ridiculous. He was moving, he was breathing. Eight people saw him."
Ms Anusic said her step-father, who suffered from Alzheimer's, had been treated in hospital for pneumonia.
They had waited until he was better before booking a ticket to travel to his native Germany.
"He was released from hospital. He was fine. If he was not fine the hospital wouldn't release him," she said.
And she insisted that with his eyes closed they believed he was asleep.
"He was alive. He was pale but he wasn't dead," Ms Anusic added.
"A dead person you cannot carry to Germany, there are too many people checking and security. How can you bring a dead person to Germany?"
A member of staff at Broadway Cars in Oldham, who asked not to be named, confirmed the private hire company had taken the passengers to Liverpool but declined to comment further, saying it was "a big deal" for the business.
A spokesman for Liverpool John Lennon Airport said: "In view of the fact that this incident is currently under police investigation and we understand arrests have been made, we cannot comment any further at this stage."