Free Press Journal

‘Crash’ co-pilot hid his depression from airline


Montabaur : The Germanwings co-pilot who flew his Airbus into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, hid a serious illness from the airline, prosecutors said on Friday, amid reports he was severely depressed.

German prosecutors revealed that searches of Andreas Lubitz’s homes had netted “medical documents that suggest an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment”, including “torn-up and current sick leave notes, among them one covering the day of the crash”. They did not specify the illness.

A German daily reported that Lubitz sought psychiatric help for “a bout of serious depression” in 2009 and was still getting assistance from doctors, quoting documents from Germany’s air transport regulator. The paper also cited security sources as saying that Lubitz and his girlfriend were having a “serious crisis in their relationship” that left him distraught.

The black box voice recorder indicates that Lubitz, 27, locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately sent Flight 4U 9525 crashing into a mountainside, in what appears to have been a case of suicide and mass murder. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday that “everything is pointing towards an act that we can’t describe: criminal, crazy, suicidal…”

German prosecutors said the evidence found in the two homes “backs up the suspicion” that Lubitz “hid his illness from his employer and his colleagues”. They, however, added they had not found a suicide note, confession or anything pointing to a “political or religious” motive.

Lubitz locked himself into the cockpit when the captain went out to use the toilet.

The captain, after initially banging, even tried using an axe to break through the armoured door. Described as a man whose life-long obsession had been to become a pilot, it has been suggested Lubitz may have feared his flying licence might not be renewed on medical grounds.

Friends have told how he had a life-long obsession with flight, posting pictures of planes all over his walls as a child and taking gliding lessons at the age of just 14, reports the Daily Mail.

Lubitz had built his whole life around becoming a pilot – with one friend saying ‘would have died’ if he had not have passed his flying exams – and even became a flight attendant while he waited to start his training.

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