Germanwings crash volunteers caught up in Paris attacks.

Germanwings Crash Volunteers Were at Paris Stadium as the Attacks Started

Germanwings Crash Volunteers Were at Paris Stadium as the Attacks Started

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Nov. 14 2015 12:39 PM

Germanwings Crash Volunteers Were at Paris Stadium as the Attacks Started

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Soccer fans gather in the field as they wait for security clearance to leave the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, after the friendly soccer match between France and Germany on Nov. 13, 2015, following shootings and explosions near the stadium and in the French capital.

Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

In a crazy twist of fate, some 1,200 emergency workers and volunteers who helped out during the Germanwings plane crash in March that killed 150 people ended up getting caught up in the midst of the Paris attacks. Lufthansa had chartered a train to take the volunteers to the Stade de France and watch the soccer match between France and Germany as a thank you for their efforts. It was supposed to be a token of gratitude. Instead, the rescue workers were suddenly trapped in the worst violence to hit France since World War II, reports Reuters.

“It was supposed to be an evening of French and German celebration and appreciation after that tragic event,” Airbus communications chief Rainer Ohler. “We heard the explosions and at first nobody thought of terrorism. It was only when President Hollande left and people started getting phone messages that we realized what was going on.” Ohler was at the stadium with Airbus chief executive Tom Enders. Lufthansa CEO Tom Enders and Ai France–KLM CEO Alexandre Du Juniac were also at the stadium, reports Bloomberg.

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All the volunteers got out of the stadium safely, according to Lufthansa.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.