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The tragedy of biologist Cristina on the Germanwings flight: a deadly change of plans

Six years ago An “unbalanced” German pilot decided to kill more than 149 people by crashing the Germanwings flight who had left Barcelona bound for Düsseldorf. It was March 24, 2015, at ten:40 in the morning when the plane crashed in the French Alps.

I was on that flight, for a last minute change, Cristina Muñoz, a promising biologist and neuroscientist from Barcelona who worked for Bayer. Now the book Cristina’s flight. Lives lost in air attack (Comanegra), by Marçal Girbau, claims not only his truncated career, but also the serious questions about whether the safety measures on the planes are correct, the investigations, the interests of the Lufthansa company, the image of the Made in Germanyand an interesting reflection on the laws applied to the recognition of the victims in this accident.

Cristina was 32 years old when she took her last flight. She has a degree in Biology and a PhD in Neuroscience, she worked in Germany, but she was already thinking about returning to Barcelona. She specialized in the study of human stress and could not have had a worse ending with the most perverse 10 minutes for those who saw how the plane did not stop descending. while the first officer shouted for his assistant, with diagnosed psychological problems, to let him enter the cabin.

The young woman, a great planner and very organized in her life, did not plan to return to Düsseldorf that Tuesday, March 24, but one day before. However, she had applied for a job at a company in Barcelona and they wanted to see her on Monday for an interview. An “unexpected change of plans” that cost him his life.

“This is not a book of photographs. It is a journalistic essay or a chronicle with overtones of biography, with some element of philosophical reflection. And it is a tribute to Cristina and the 148 remaining victims of the Germanwings attack“acknowledges its author, who warns that he is also trying to denounce that six years later everything is still the same.

“Obviously, there is the luck factor but the underlying issue that this book seeks is to denounce that Today exactly the same thing could happen because nothing has changed in terms of protocol. After 9/11, very specific measures were taken in terms of air safety, after Germanwings nothing has changed. Tomorrow it could be you.”

The death of these 149 people It is considered, legally, as a traffic accident and not victims of a “terrorist attack” which is what the families claim.: “Precisely what I say in the book is that in our country there are depending on which victims and according to which terrorist attacks that public institutions remind them of and that is fine. In this case they are not directly considered victims of a terrorist attack, but which is legally classified as a traffic accident. There is nothing more involuntary than an accident and traffic on top of it, and it does not fit with reality. There was nothing voluntary.”

He even writes between the pages of this book that “I had never realized that our life was worth more or less depending on the name our death receives: natural, suicide, homicide, genocide, murder, attack…”

a video tape

Cristina’s flight. Lives lost in air attack It is also the personal exercise of his brother who came up with the idea of ​​writing it as the best way to go through the hell of his loss. “It occurred to me, Sergio Muñoz Abellán, Cristina’s little brother, that the best way to turn the page was, in fact, to make a book, so that anyone who wanted could know four glimpses of her life, as short as it was intense. Also so that those of us who love her and knew her would leaf through it like someone who, unexpectedly and by chance, stumbles upon an old family video tape. in a forgotten drawer at home.

But Marçal Girbau shows the consequences that families continue to suffer for the simple fact that it is seen as an accident: “If it were considered an attack, the Spanish State would have obligations that it has not assumed and for families it would mean rights that, although It is true that they would not give back the lives of their loved ones, they could have them.

In fact, Cristina’s brother is also the protagonist of one of the hardest parts that the book shows. He is the one who tells it, but it could be the words and thoughts of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, sons or daughters of those who died due to the suicidal ideas of the Germanwings pilot.

“They concentrated us inside a room of a hotel in Castelldefels as if we were a soccer team and, while the media declared that there were no survivors, those at the airport told us that they could not confirm any information. It was a desperate moment. One of the worst scenes was when they confirmed the passenger list to us. It was very hard. On the one hand, they confirm that your loved one is on the plane. On the other hand, they don’t want to admit to you that he is dead. Although, in reality, when they offer you a hotel and psychological assistance on the same night, you can already deduce that you are lost; The truth is that I went to sleep without knowing if I could maintain the illusion of having a sister,” he recalls in the book.

Germany is no guarantee

The author also questions what would have changed if the plane had not been German, a country that seems to guarantee absolute security, but of another nationality. In fact, in these six years that have passed since the “attack”, the company has made it disappear from the map Germanwings to change it, little by little, to the parent company: Eurowings. The latest shootdown during the pandemic that closed air traffic.

“The million dollar question is what would have happened if it were a Vueling plane with a co-pilot from Barcelona full of Germans. What kind of reception and treatment would you have had in Germany? The book also aims to reflect on that. “You realize that in the European Union, each passport has a different value.”

In not a single line on the pages of the book the name of “Cristina’s murderer” appears. Here neither. Simply because “we don’t feel like remembering her name”. Families, like Cristina’s, continue to fight for recognition that the system failed: “With all honor, let it be clear that what was stolen from their loved ones was not a random accident, but the purest carelessness, apathy.” and the neglect of a corrupt and corrupt world.

Marçal Girbau confirms it to MagasIN: “I have tried to write a book that was in accordance with what the family asked of me, to turn the page to turn it again as many times as necessary and to be able to remember, a tribute, but also in a social key for all audiences and especially for critical reflection. And I would love for Minister Ábalos to read it to him because it would serve to reflect on issues such as air safety.“.

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