Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appears to have deliberately crashed plane
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Recordings retrieved from the black box of Germanwings flight suggest that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the plane into the Alps. Flight 4U9525 was travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when tragedy struck and the 144 passengers along with 6 crew on board were all killed.
The Airbus A320 descended rapidly shortly after crossing into French airspace and within just 8 minutes the plane impacted the mountains at a speed of 700kmph. On the recording, the pilot can be heard trying to get back into the cockpit but Lubitz made no response or took any evasive flight manoeuvres suggesting malice on his part.
Prosecutor Brice Robin painted a picture of what happened in the final moments before the crash in a statement today. He said "While he is alone, the co-pilot presses the buttons of the flight monitoring system to put into action the descent of the aeroplane. He operated this button for a reason we don't know yet, but it appears that the reason was to destroy this plane."
It remains unclear what motive 27 year old Lubitz would have had to carry out such an act but it has emerged that he has a history of mental illness. He is reported to have postponed his pilot training for a number of months after suffering a bout of depression but Germanwings CEO Carsten Spohr said that after he returned to complete his training, he was deemed to be "100 per cent fit to fly without any restrictions".
Lubiz has worked for the Lufthansa group for a number of years and officially joined Germanwings in May 2014. Robin made it clear that investigators are not currently aware of any links to extremists saying "There is no reason to suspect a terrorist attack." The investigation will continue with the focus now firmly on Lubitz rather than any mechanical failure with the Airbus A320.