Hundreds of mourners on Tuesday attended a memorial service for 15 people who died when the roof of an ice rink in a southern German town collapsed under heavy snow last week.
Volunteers were in traditional Bavarian clothing during the service
"Deep sorrow and sympathy unite us in this moment," Edmund Stoiber, the premier of the southern state of Bavaria, told mourners in the St. Zeno church in Bad Reichenhall.
Twelve children, most of them teenagers, and three women died when the roof of the ice rink fell in last Monday, instantly killing the victims though rescue workers struggled for days to recover their bodies from the debris.
Another 36 people were injured in the accident.
"We are all helpless before these sudden deaths and ask ourselves: Why so many children and youths who still had their lives before them?" the archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, said.
The service was attended by German Economy Minister Michael Glos and many members of the rescue teams who recovered the victims. Unlike an earlier interdenominational service on Saturday, the ceremony was broadcast on national television.
An inquiry is looking into the causes of the accident, and the local press reported this week that the building's structural weaknesses may have led to its collapse.
Edmund Stoiber, premier of Bavaria, speaks during the church service
Der Spiegel magazine quoted an engineer who examined the rubble of the building several hours after the accident and noted sealed joints were absent in at least five of the 20 places where the wooden structure buckled.
The weak points could have been the cause of the roof's collapse, the magazine said.
The roof of the rink, built in 1971, was weighed down by at least 180 tonnes of thick snow when it collapsed on Monday just 15 minutes before the rink was due to close.