German Red Cross sends emergency teams to plane crash site

Published: 2 July 2002 0:00 CET

The German Red Cross immediately mobilized its emergency teams after a German cargo plane and a Russian Tupolev passenger plane collided at 13,000 metres over the city of Überlingen, in southern Germany at 23:40 (local time) last night, killing 71 people. Of those killed, 47 were children, on their way to a summer holiday in Spain.

Ten Red Cross doctors were sent to the site in the minutes following the crash, in the hope of finding survivors, along with six sniffer dog teams, seven emergency teams and several ambulances. A total of 180 volunteers and rescuers were mobilized from the German Red Cross branches of Überlingen, Sigmaringen and Konstanz.

Although fragments from the planes were scattered over a 30-kilometre radius in an area just three kilometres away from Überlingen, and burning debris hit a house, a school and a farm, miraculously, no one was injured on the ground. However, the German Red Cross is planning to provide psychological support to the population, if needed, to deal with the trauma of finding body parts and pieces of fuselage in gardens or on the street. German Red Cross teams are also providing psycho social support to rescuers.

When they realized there were no survivors, the Red Cross doctors were pulled off site. The German Red Cross is taking tracing inquiries from families of the deceased.