How To Support Families Of Plane Crash Victims

The Germanwings crash on Monday in the French Alps left no survivors. All 150 people aboard the plane — 144 passengers and six crew members — were killed. The passengers included two babies and 16 German teenagers en route to a weeklong exchange trip to Spain with two of their teachers. Two opera singers were also on board. While the pain of these losses is inevitable, especially for the victims’ families, people often want to reach out. There are ways to help the plane crash victims' families and pay our respects.

Around the world, people have already joined in the mourning of the crash’s 150 victims. Hundreds gathered in a small Spanish town to mourn the 16 German exchange students who had just departed. The Washington Post reports that a weekly church service in the town became an unofficial collective mourning for the lives lost in the crash. Outside of the German students’ school in the town of Haltern am See, fellow students lit candles and laid down flowers in remembrance. German outlet RTE News reports that psychologists and counselors are caring for relatives of the deceased, and that students will have the opportunity to speak about the tragedy.

On Twitter, the Germanwings logo — which is normally maroon and yellow — was made black and grey. Officials cancelled trips, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to make a trip to the remote mountain in the French Alps where the plane went down. In Germany, even the soccer team is mourning. The national team and World Cup holder plans to play its game Wednesday with black armbands to commemorate the passengers of Germanwings Airbus A320. There will also be a moment of silence before the game kicks off.

But outside of these efforts by public figures and the mourning of the victim’s friends and family, what else can be done?

Get Familiar With ACCESS

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One organization, ACCESS (AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services), is a nonprofit support program for people who have lost loved ones in aviation disasters. The founder of the program, Heidi Snow, created the program after she went through a loss. While the rest of the world may begin to move on after an airplane crash, Snow says that this sort of group gives people the opportunity to share what they want through and also to feel hope from seeing others’ experiences. You can donate to ACCESS, volunteer, or share your story if you've experienced the same kind of loss.

Donate To Helpful Organizations

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Other ways to help include donating to airline safety organizations, such as the Flight Safety Foundation. Donations can also be made to the Red Cross to support the emergency team's efforts as the face the daunting task of completing recovery efforts in remote parts of the French Alps.

Just Think About Them

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You can also follow Germanwings Airlines' example on Twitter and express condolences via social media. Even just taking a moment of silence is a good way to show solidarity and support.

While we can’t all relate to what the victims’ friends and families are feeling right now, what we can do is to provide support, acknowledgement, and our condolences. The loss of 150 lives truly is a great tragedy — for everyone.

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