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Third American in Germanwings crash identified

Posted at 8:25 AM, Mar 25, 2015

The State Department identified the third American killed on board the Germanwings Airbus crash. 

Two Americans had been identified Wednesday afternoon as mother and daughter Yvonne and Emily Selke, of the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Officials indicated later Wednesday that a third American was on board. The State Department announced Thursday the third American killed was Robert Oliver, 37. Oliver was an employee of clothing company Desigual, according to multiple outlets

The news came a day after a report that one of the pilots of the Germanwings Airbus that crashed in France was locked out of the cockpit at the time of the crash, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.

The contents of the cockpit voice recorder showed that one pilot left the cockpit and could not re-enter. He knocked on the door to no response from the other pilot. Eventually, he tried to smash in the door.

The reason for the pilot leaving the cockpit — and the lack of response upon his return — is unknown. There was no distress call as the plane rapidly descended and then crashed into the French Alps.

As the search for answers as to what caused the crash continues in France, the nationalities of some passengers have been revealed — including the fact that three Americans were believed to be onboard.

Wednesday morning, Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelman told reporters there were 72 Germans on the flight, along with at least 35 Spaniards; those numbers were according to NBC News.

Raymond Selke, of Nokesville, Va., Yvonne's husband and Emily's father, confirmed their deaths to the Washington Post.

Emily Selke is a recent graduate of Drexel University.

Drexel's Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority chapter posted a tribute on their Facebook page mourning Emily Selke’s death. Selke served as vice president of the school’s Zeta chapter of the sorority.

“She embodied the spirit of Gamma Sigma Sigma,” the sorority said. “As a person and friend, Emily always put others before herself and cared deeply for all those in her life. Emily will be greatly missed by her fellow sisters of Zeta. Please keep Emily, her mother and their family in your thoughts and prayers during this heartbreaking time.”

According to The Associated Press, Yvonne Selke worked as a U.S. government contractor.

The AP cited a source close to the family. She was a longtime and highly regarded employee of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Winkelman also said investigators have been working to contact relatives of the passengers but have so far been unsuccessful at reaching them all. It was revealed on Tuesday that all 150 people onboard the plane were killed.

Shortly after the victims' nationalities were revealed, the Associated Press reported that three generations of a single family from Spain were killed in the crash, including a middle school-aged girl. The girl's mother and grandmother were also onboard, according to a statement from the family's hometown near Barcelona.

At about 8 a.m. Eastern, BBC News reported two Australians, two Argentineans and two Iranians were also onboard, along with single citizens from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel.


On Wednesday morning, Spain's government said its data showed 49 Spaniards were onboard the plane, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the Guardian quoted a British official whom feared at least three people from his nation were on the flight.