Israelis working to recover bodies from the wreckage of Germanwings flight 9525.
(photo credit: ZAKA RESCUE AND RECOVERY ORGANIZATION)
Israelis working to recover bodies from the wreckage of Germanwings flight 9525 – which crashed in the French Alps last week – will return to Israel on Friday in time for Passover, their team leader told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Speaking via phone near the crash site, ZAKA international rescue unit head Mati Goldstein said while he didn’t expect to find any complete bodies, his team aided their French and German counterparts in recovering numerous remains that will eventually be DNA tested to determine which of the plane’s 150 passengers and crew they belong to.
Flight 9525 is believed to have been intentionally downed by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who locked the plane’s captain out of the cockpit.
While Goldstein described the crash site as a “very large and difficult scene,” he said he believed his team was going to “accomplish our mission by tonight and hopefully get back before Passover in Israel.”
One of the passengers on the plane was Eyal Baum, a 39-yearold from Hod Hasharon who was living in Germany.
“We know how important it is... for the family that they can have somewhere they can go and see their beloved buried,” he said. “And we know in Halacha how important it is to bury every little piece.”
Golstein said his eight-man team worked up to 14 hours a day at an altitude of 2,400 meters. The ZAKA worker, who was on the scene to care for the dead following a number of attacks against Jewish communities in Europe – including the recent shooting death of an Israeli man outside a Copenhagen synagogue – said he has trained local ZAKA teams around the world, including in Marseilles and Paris.
“Lufthansa are paying for the travel costs for the ZAKA team, at the request of the Baum family,” a spokeswoman for ZAKA told the Post.
“The team is being supported by Chabad and the Jewish community in Marseilles in terms of land arrangements and kosher food.”