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Germanwings crash: Airline pledges up to $54,450 for victims’ families

Updated

Families of those who died when the co-pilot of a Germanwings flight apparently deliberately crashed a plane will receive an initial payment of up to $54,450 from the airline’s parent company, a spokesman for the firm said on Saturday.

RELATED: Germanwings co-pilot may have hidden illness, prosecutors say

“Lufthansa in the name of Germanwings will pay up to 50,000 euro as a preliminary payment to the relatives of each deceased passenger” to cover immediate costs, a spokesman told NBC News, adding that the money would not have to be repaid.

The news came as officials struggled to discover why the 27-year-old co-pilot locked the captain of Germanwings Flight 9525 out of the cabin and smashed the plane into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board.

In searches of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s home, investigators found torn-up doctor’s notes including one excusing him from work on the day of the crash, German prosecutors said. Germanwings said that it never got a sick note for the day of the crash.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the crash entered its fifth day Saturday, with searchers scouring the crash site for any sign of the second black box. 

“Lufthansa in the name of Germanwings will pay up to 50,000 euro as a preliminary payment to the relatives of each deceased passenger.”

Plane debris and body parts are being flown out of the grim crash site, which has been challenging physically and emotionally for those combing it, Lt. Colonel Xavier Vialenc, spokesman for the French police, said Saturday.

The workers are dropped to the crash zone daily by a helicopter 80 meters up in the air, Vialenc said.

“The work is complicated by the harsh environment. There are high mountains. The rocks fall down. It’s very windy and using the airlift is not easy.”

About 600 body parts have been recovered and sent to Paris for DNA identification for the victims’ families, he added.

Bill Neely and Elizabeth Chuck contributed reporting. This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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Germanwings crash: Airline pledges up to $54,450 for victims' families

Updated