HALTERN, Germany -- In Haltern Tuesday the church bells tolled for the dead in this small German town that can hardly understand its loss. Of the 150 people believed to have died in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, 16 were students at Haltern's high school. They were traveling home from an exchange trip to Spain with two of their teachers.
"I and the whole town, we are very shocked at this moment," said Bodo Klimpel, the mayor of Haltern.
He told us two of the girls who died were family friends.
"They (parents) called in the morning with sons and daughters, and they didn't arrive, and now the parents are very shocked," said Klimpel.
Other families gathered in Dusseldorf and in Barcelona to hear the worst news possible: No survivors and no hope of finding any.
"All I can say is that I feel terribly sorry," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives."
Chancellor Merkel will travel to the crash site on Wednesday. In Haltern they'll be no classes at the high school, just grief counselling for its students.
All over this town we've seen people looking stunned, ashen faced and deeply shaken -- because in a place this small, just about everyone knew someone who was killed in the crash.