A German woman falsely claimed to be a relative to one of the victims of the 24 March Germanwings plane crash to get free rides to the French Alps, it has been alleged.
The suspected fraudster allegedly claimed to be the cousin of a high school teacher who lost her life in the incident along with 16 of her students, to exploit special free flights to the crash site offered by the Germanwings parent company Lufthansa.
The woman, who has not been named, flew to Seyne-Les-Alpes and back at Lufthansa's expense twice after the March 24 massacre, according to German media. There she reportedly visited a memorial to the victims in the village of Le Vernet before making use of a psychological assistance service offered to grieving families.
Lufthansa became suspicious of the woman as she took her second trip with three other persons over the Easter break. A spokesperson for the airline said they were looking into the matter, which they described as "regrettable isolated case".
"We are deeply sorry that this incident has disturbed grieving families," Lufthansa told the Halterner Zeitung newspaper, based in the late teacher's German hometown of Haltern.
The publication was informed of the incident by the educator's father, who confirmed the woman had no connection with his daughter. He referred the case to police that said they have opened an investigation for fraud and will soon question the alleged free rider.