Officials went through the flat of 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz today, finding two doctor’s notes signing him off as sick on the day he crashed Germanwings Flight 4U9525 into a mountainside. One of the notes came from Dusseldorf University Hospital, which confirmed that Lubitz had been a patient for the past two months to treat a medical condition that they declined to comment on.
Lubitz has been described as a man obsessed with flying. He began taking glider lessons at the young age of 14 and his childhood room was decorated with photos of planes. A friend said Lubitz ‘would have died’ if he didn’t pass flight school. He even worked as a flight steward while he waited for his flight school training to begin.
However, Lubitz reportedly went through a period of ‘burnout and depression’ during his flight school training in 2008, which put a brief hiatus on his career. During his time at Lufthansa Flight School in Phoenix, Arizona, he was listed temporarily as ‘unfliable’. For a year and a half, he received psychiatric treatment. At one point, he was recommended to see a doctor before he could resume his flying career. According to the Washington Post, Lubitz underwent psychotherapy because of suicidal tendencies. Unbelievably after all this, Lubitz was able to pass a psychological evaluation and was labeled fit to fly.
Authorities say they have found documents related to ‘an existing illness’ and corresponding medical treatment. German newspapers have also reported that Lubitz received psychiatric treatment from a number of different physicians, and continued to receive treatment and mental health support right up until the crash. The president of a German association of doctors told the media that Lubitz’s actions were incomprehensible and irresponsible after he had been written a certificate saying he was “not ready to work, and therefore unfit to fly.”
Media outlets have reported that Lubitz was facing an upcoming medical evaluation and it is thought that he may have feared losing his pilot’s license due to mental or other health issues, derailing his lifelong passion of flying. Another possible explanation for Lubitz’s actions could be related to his medication. Some have postulated that Lubitz stopped taking his medication so it would not be detected in his upcoming medical evaluation.
A spokesman for Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said the company was unaware of any medical notes regarding Lubitz on the day of the crash, adding that it was Lubitz’s responsibility to bring that information to the airline’s attention. However, the head of Germanwings admitted that Lubitz had slipped through the company’s safety net and should never have been flying.
What we know about Andreas Lubitz:
- Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who deliberately initiated the descent and subsequent crash of Germanwings Flight 4U9525, received an “unfit to work” diagnoses from two different doctors on the day of the tragedy, but kept it secret.
- Lubitz may have known that his career was coming to an end. According to German newspaper, he may have crashed the plane over fears he was about to lose his pilot license due to his medical condition.
- Investigators have said they believe Lubitz had ‘hidden illness.’
- Pharmacist near Lubitz’s home confirmed the 27-year-old co-pilot regularly picked up medication, but would not disclose what the meds were to the media.
- Lufthansa head: Lubitz slipped through the company’s safety net.
- Friends say Lubitz was teased because he was a flight steward before going through flight training school.
- Authorities say that while they haven’t found a suicide note, they have found evidence of that he was mentally ill.