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3 Americans Among Crash Victims Who Included Students, Opera Singers

Students mourn in front of their school in Haltern, Germany, on Wednesday, a day after the Germanwings plane crash. Sixteen high-schoolers and two teachers from the school were among the 150 people onboard the plane.
Martin Meissner
Students mourn in front of their school in Haltern, Germany, on Wednesday, a day after the Germanwings plane crash. Sixteen high-schoolers and two teachers from the school were among the 150 people onboard the plane.

We're learning more this morning about some of those people onboard Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 that crashed Tuesday with 150 people onboard. The passengers were from at least 15 countries, including the U.S.

Here is some of what we know about them.

An American And Her Daughter

The Americans on the flight were identified as Yvonne Selke and her daughter, Emily Selke, of Nokesville, Va.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed their identities. Psaki said there was a third American on the flight, but did not name that person.

The Washington Post quotedRaymond Selke, Yvonne Selke's husband, as confirming that they were on the plane. "Selke said he was too distraught to give details about the two or discuss the crash," the Post said.

Separately, The Associated Press, which also reported on the story, said Yvonne Selke was a "highly regarded employee of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington." It said she performed work with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The Post added that Emily Selke was a 2013 graduate of Drexel University.

The Students

"In our school, it will never again be as it was before." Those were the words of Ulrich Wessel, principal at Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, Germany.

Sixteen students from the school were returning home on the plane along with two of their teachers.

The school held a day of mourning today. Students, some tearful, gathered at a memorial of candles and flowers.

Reuters reported that one sign there said: "Yesterday we were many, today we are alone."

Lara Beer, 14, told The Associated Press her best friend, Paula, was aboard the aircraft. She said she was waiting for the train her friend was supposed to be on, but went home when Paula wasn't on it.

"That's when my parents told me Paula was dead," she said.

Haltern Mayor Bodo Klimpel said: "I am still speechless. Our entire town is in mourning. We are in shock."

The Opera Singers

Opera Singers Oleg Bryjak, 43, and Maria Radner, 34, had performed Wagner's Siegfried at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house last weekend. Radner, a contralto, was returning to Germany with her husband and baby. Bryjak was on the same flight. Two minutes of silence were held in their memory today at the Liceu opera house.

Their deaths were confirmed by the Barcelona opera house.

Deutsche Oper am Rhein, an opera house in Duesseldorf, confirmed Bryjak's death. "We are stunned," General Director Christoph Meyer said.

The Guardian adds:

"Bryjak was born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the former Soviet Union and had performed on opera stages including those in Paris, Zurich, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Sao Paolo and Tokyo, according to his website. His repertoire was said to include more than 30 operas.

"A biography on her management company's website says Radner, who was born in Düsseldorf in Germany, made her debut in January 2012 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She subsequently performed in Buenos Aires, Bonn, Rome, Geneva and Milan as well as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in London. She featured in Wagner's Das Rheinhold, which was on BBC radio in 2012."

The Iranians

Two Iranians on the flight were identified as Milad Hojatoleslami and Hossein Javadi, both journalists. They were in Barcelona to cover last weekend's soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, the official IRNA news agency reported. IRNA said Hojatoleslami worked for the Tasnim news agency; Javadi for Vatan-e-Emrouz newspaper.

They were traveling to cover Iran's soccer friendlies against Chile and Sweden, in Austria and Sweden, respectively.

The Israeli

The sister of an Israeli passenger aboard the plane identified him as Eyal Baum.

Lital Baum told Army Radio that her brother, who lived in Barcelona with his wife, had been on a work trip.

"He was so special," she said.

The Australian Mother And Son

Australian Foreign Ministers identified Carol Friday, a 68-year-old nurse from Melbourne, and her adult son, Greig, 29, an engineer, as two of the passengers. They were vacationing together in Europe, a family statement said, before the start of Greig's stay in Europe where he was to teach English this year.

"Our family is in deep disbelief and crippled with sadness and would like to ask for privacy," the statement said.

The Briton On His Way Home

Britain's government says three Britons died in the crash. One of them was identified as Paul Bramley, 28 who was studying hospitality and hotel management in Lucerne, Switzerland. He was on his way home to meet his mother before the start of an internship on April 1.

"Paul was a kind, caring and loving son," his mother, Carole Bramley, said in a statement. "He was the best son, he was my world."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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