Survivors mark 30 years after Ramstein air show tragedy

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Survivors and relatives at Ramstein in Germany gathered at the base on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the air show tragedy.

This is a tragedy where 70 people were killed when three Italian jets collided during a military air show over the U.S. base

“The truth does not endure forgetfulness,’’ Giancarlo Nutarelli, the brother of one of the pilots, said during an ecumenical church service. “The pain affected all of us, but also united all those involved with each other.’’

The jets from the Frecce Tricolori (Tricolour Arrows), the Italian military aerobatic team, collided over the base on August 28, 1988.

One fell into the crowd, killing 67 spectators subsequently all three pilots also died.

70 candles were lit in the church at Ramstein-Miesenbach during the service and six wreaths were laid on the altar.

“The air show disaster at Ramstein is more deeply anchored in the memory of our state than virtually any other tragedy,’’ Malu Dreyer, the prime minister of the state of North Rhine Westphalia, said.

Some 100 relatives and survivors were present.

“It’s like a family gathering,’’ a woman who was one of the 350 seriously injured in the accident said. “I saw a huge fireball. It was as though the sky was on fire.’’

“It’s a pity that we meet so seldomly,’’ said Marc-David Jung, who lost his father in the accident.

The U.S. airbase at Ramstein is the largest of its kind outside the United States. (dpa/NAN)

Biola Lawal

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