Posted: 27 March, 2015
Young German wanted to "destroy the plane"
French officials believe the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 intentionally set the flight on a course for destruction.
New details have come to light reportedly showing the autopilot was reprogrammed from 38,000 feet to just 100 feet.
It comes after chilling details from one of the black boxes revealing what happened in the final minutes on the doomed plane.
Sound recordings have revealed the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the cockpit when he went to the toilet, ignored his desperate pleas for re-entry and then flicked the switch to begin the slow decent into the French Alps before hearing passengers scream in the final seconds.
Apart from his breathing, Lubitz didn’t say a word for the final ten minutes while alone at the controls as lead prosecutor Brice Robin said, “he didn’t reply to a thing. He didn’t say a word. In the cockpit, it was utter silence.”
Robin said the young German appeared to “show a desire to want to destroy” the plane, but did not believe he was part of a terrorist plot.”
“At this moment, there is no indication that this is an act of terrorism,” Robin said.
Germany’s Interior Minister confirmed this, saying there was so far no indication of “a terrorist background.”
Details have also emerged about the German co-pilot’s past as two houses in Duesseldorf and Montabaur were searched.
Investigators reportedly finding 'something of significance' in one of them, although it's not yet known what it is.
Lubitz lived in a town of Montabaur, near Frankfurt and started training in 2008 at Bremen and Arizona. His training was briefly interrupted but deemed fit to fly.
He worked as a co-pilot for Germanwings since 2013, appeared pleased with his job, and his Facebook profile suggests the active lifestyle of a keen runner with an interest in pop music.
Sophr said he had undergone intensive training, passed all psychological and physical tests and was “100% fit to fly without any caveats.”
However, a mother of a schoolmate told a French newspaper Lubitz had told her daughter he took a break from his pilot training because he was suffering from depression.
“Apparently he had a burnout, he was in depression,” the unnamed woman said.
She said her daughter had seen him again just before Christmas and that he had appeared normal. She added he was a “lovely boy.” “He had a good family background.”
The shocking revelation was released as families and friends of victims travelled to the remote crash site area.
Tents were set up for them to give DNA samples to start the process of identifying bodies of loved ones.
Meanwhile the remains of victims, found scattered across the slopes were being taken by helicopter to nearby Seyne-les-Alpes.
All 150 people aboard the Airbus A320 were killed in Tuesday’s crash, including two Australians Carol Friday and her son Greig, both from Melbourne.
Robin said those on board died “instantly” and were probably not aware until the “very last moment” of the impending disaster.
“The screams were heard only in the last moments before the impact,” said the prosecutor.
There was no immediate clue as to the motive of the pilot, but Robin said he was unwilling to use the word “suicide”.
“Usually when you commit suicide, you do it alone. When you’re responsible for 150 people, I don’t call that a suicide.”
The co-pilot who deliberately set the controls “to accelerate the plane’s descent” into the side of the mountain, “was conscious until the moment of impact,” Robin said.
German Chanellor Angela Merkel said the findings added an “absolutely unimaginable dimension” to the tragedy.
Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said he was “stunned” by the revelations and added that no security “system in the world” could have prevented the co-pilot’s actions.
Airlines and aviation regulators around the world have already moved to change their practices to ensure there are always two people in the cockpit at any one time.
Canada has ordered the changes, along with airlines in Britain, Norway and Iceland, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a review is underway while also seeking a briefing from domestic airlines about their cockpit procedures.