Tragic Wolverhampton father killed by twist of fate in Germanwings crash

Wolves fan Martyn Matthews who died in the Alps air tragedy was only on the plane because he couldn't get a direct flight back to the West Midlands.

Tragic Wolverhampton father killed by twist of fate in Germanwings crash

The father-of-two, a former Scout leader, was described as a 'lovely family man'.

Mr Matthews, from Bushbury in Wolverhampton and a worker at Huf in Tipton, was a Wolves season ticket holder.

Colleagues at Huf, which makes car components, said the 50-year-old was a 'really nice man', as the firm prepared to hold a minute's silence in his memory. Mr Matthews was married to Sharon, 48, and had two children, Jade 20 and Nathan, 23. It is thought he had lived in the area for around 25 years. Mr Matthews was only on the Airbus 320 after failing to find a direct route back the Midlands.

Rescue teams work on debris at the plane crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France

Yesterday, news of the tragedy began to filter through to staff at the sprawling 12,000 square metre site on the Black Country New Road, Tipton. It specialises in making car door handles.

From the offices to the shop floor, workers began to talk of the plane crash that had dominated the morning news. The disaster would usually make for a few brief words between workers over a coffee before the start of the morning shift.

But it soon became clear that one of their own had been involved.

Just before midday, a notice was affixed to staff message boards confirming that Mr Matthews had been killed in the crash. It notified staff that a minute's silence would be held today in his honour.

It was a devastating moment for many of the firm's 250 Tipton-based employees, some of whom had come to know Mr Matthews as a fun-loving Wolves fan with a ready-smile who was always willing to stop for a chat.

Bernard Doughty, an employee in the firm's plastics department, spoke of his sadness as he found out about the plane crash which took the lives of all 150 people on board. The 69-year-old, from Willenhall, said: "At first none of us knew that anyone from here had been involved. Then a few people started saying Martyn may have been on the plane.

"My heart dropped. I've known him for about five years and he is a wonderful chap. It's been a strange day because there's been none of the usual chat around the place. Everyone's been a bit quiet.

He'd do anything for anyone."

Mr Doughty said Mr Matthews was a senior manager who worked in the quality control department. He said he had made friends with a number of employees throughout the firm due to his love of Wolves.

"He was a massive Wolves fan," said Mr Doughty. "The thing I'll miss the most is coming into work at the start of the week and chatting with him about the match. He loved the club and regularly went to Molineux. He'll be sadly missed, will our Martyn."

It is believed Mr Matthews was on a works trip to the company's headquarters in Velbert, which is 25km from Düsseldorf, at the time of the crash.

One 21-year-old worker, who asked not to be named, said:

"No one really knows what to say. It really hit home to think that he was travelling for works business when it happened."

He instead boarded the fateful flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, which crashed in the Alps on Tuesday morning, killing all 150 people on board.

The victim was going to fly from Germany to Birmingham and should have been with his family on Tuesday night. He had been in Barcelona for a business meeting.

There were tears at his workplace yesterday, as there were at his family home where wife Sharon was too upset to speak.

Police were at their Abbeyfield Road home comforting the family. The Foreign Office confirmed Mr Matthews was one of at least three British victims. In a statement his family said: "We are devastated at the news of this tragic incident and request that we are allowed to deal with this terrible news without intrusion at this difficult time."

Mr Matthews' mother Iris, 82 and from Wednesfield, said: "This has been a terrible shock. I am numb. Martyn was a lovely family man.

"He loved his work and travelled extensively for them (Huf). I don't want to say any more. It's too hard."

Wolves last night lowered the flags outside Molineux to half mast and sent sincere condolences to the family of Martin, who had a season ticket in the Steve Bull Stand.

The flags at Molineux are flying at half mast in memory of Wolves supporter Martyn Matthews

The cause of the crash is still being investigated. Experts were today sifting through the rubble and examining a black box cockpit voice recorder for vital clues. It is believed two minutes of radio silence hold the key. Evidence has emerged that the unexplained, gradual dive to destruction of the Germanwings flight took at least 18 minutes, not eight.

In that time, it gradually shed height from 28,000 feet to less than 2,000 feet without transmitting any form of distress signal.

A neighbour and former colleague of Mr Matthews said that he was 'a lovely man'.

Margaret Goodyear worked with him at Huf UK in Wolverhampton.

She said: "He was totally family-orientated and at the company he worked for, he will be very sorely missed.

"His family was his world. They will be completely devastated."

Scout leader and parish councillor Bob Denson knew Mr Matthews for most of his life.

He said: "I knew him as a lovely family man, a really nice lad who was very friendly. It's an absolute tragedy."

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