Officials investigating the Germanwings crash in the French Alps that left 150 people dead say it now appears that the co-pilot wanted to destroy the plane.
Information gleaned from the cockpit voice recorder shows that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit and intentionally initiated the plane’s descent. The 28-year-old locked the flight’s other pilot out of the cockpit. Air traffic controllers attempting to communicate with Lubitz were met with silence. Just before impact, the cockpit voice recorder picked up the sounds of passengers screaming in horror.
Carston Spohr, the head of Lufthansa (parent company to Germanwings), told the media that Lubitz was “100 percent fit to fly without any caveats.” But according to records obtained by the BBC, Lubitz’s training was interrupted six years ago because he may have been suffering from depression. He was later allowed to resume after the “suitability of the candidate was reestablished.”
Since the focus of the investigation will now switch from the plane to Lubitz, investigators will be digging deeper into his and his family’s past. So far, investigators have said any link to terrorism or extremism is not immediately known.
Here’s what is known about Andreas Lubitz:
- Grew up in the town of Montabaur.
- Began flight training in 2008 in Bremen, Germany and in the United States.
- It has been reported that his training may have been interrupted because he was suffering from depression. Six months later, he was deemed fit to continue training.
- Investigators may have found evidence related to his depression when they searched his home. They say something (as of now, we don’t know what) was sent to a lab for analysis.
- Had worked as a co-pilot or first officer since 2013, logging 630 hours of flight time.
Meanwhile, friends and relatives of those who perished on Germanwings Flight 4U9525 are beginning to arrive in the area of the crash site. Lufthansa arranged for two special flights; one from Barcelona and another from Dusseldorf. Others too frightened to fly were put on a bus from Barcelona.
Officials have still not located the second black box containing the flight data recorder.