MAINZ, Germany — The families of passengers killed when a jet was deliberately crashed in the French Alps are “appalled” by a compensation offer made by Germanwings and parent company Lufthansa, according to their lawyers.
“The reactions ranged from blank horror and rage to despair and bitterness,” Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer representing families of 35 victims, told NBC News.
Lufthansa this week made an offer of 25,000 euros ($27,700) per victim and an additional 10,000 euros ($11,110) payment to each close relative as compensation for immaterial damage. This would come in addition to the 50,000 euros ($55,540) per victim that Lufthansa had paid out as an immediate support in the days after the crash. Potential compensation for material damages has yet to be determined.
According to representatives for the Germanwings families, compensation after the crash of an Air France Concorde in 2000 was about 1 million euros per victim. Giemulla described the current offer as “totally insufficient,” adding that it only deems children, parents, and spouses or partners as close relatives. Siblings and grandparents would not be considered.
He said that a six-figure sum per surviving dependent would be more appropriate.
“That I could explain to them, I can’t explain 10,000 euros,” Giemulla added.
Giemulla said victims’ families had previously been pleased with the support offered by Lufthansa, so the compensation offer came as a shock to many.
“The relatives were appalled and are very strongly hurt,” said Christof Wellens, who represents families of another 31 victims.
A Germanwings spokesman told NBC News that he would not comment on remarks made by the victims’ representatives as the company was awaiting an official response to the offer.
However, he added that the current offer of compensation for immaterial damage is higher than the legal requirement in Germany and that additional compensation would be paid out for material damages, which would vary by individual case.
Lufthansa and Germanwings are also establishing a 6 million euros fund for individual aid projects and a 7.8 million euros trust account supporting education and schooling of the victims’ children.
Prosecutors allege that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally slammed the plane into the French Alps on March 24. All 150 people on board were killed. Lubitz had a history of depression.