French prosecutors confirm co-pilot Andreas Lubitz “wanted to destroy” the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. But who was Lubitz?
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
– Lubitz was a trusted pilot, who aviation authorities considered a “positive example”.
– Described by acquaintances as quiet but friendly, the 28-year-old began to dream of flying as a youth in his home town of Montabaur, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of western Germany.
– Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the co-pilot was alone at the controls and “intentionally” sent the plane into the doomed descent.
– He said pounding could be heard on the cockpit door during the final eight minutes before the crash as alarms sounded. Lubitz depressed the lock in the cockpit, preventing the pilot from operating the override code.
– Lufthansa still do not know Lubitz’s motivation for causing the A320 crash. Chief executive Carsten Spohr told a press conference on Thursday: ‘We can only speculate on what might have been the motivation of the co-pilot. What has happened is a tragic individual event.’
– Armin Pleiss, head teacher of the Mons-Tabor-Gymnasium high school where Lubitz graduated in 2007, told Reuters: “I am just as shocked and surprised as you are.” Lubitz attended the school of 1,300 students before Pleiss became the principal.
– Below is the image of an Andreas Lubitz that is being shared worldwide on social media. His accompanying Facebook profile details his job with Lufthansa – the company that owns Germanwings.
– Lubitz “voluntarily” refused to open the door and his breathing was normal throughout the final minutes of the flight.
– Mr Robin said the co-pilot’s responses before the captain had left him alone in the cockpit were initially courteous, but became “curt” when the captain began the mid-flight briefing on the planned landing.
– Asked whether he believed the crash that killed 150 people was the result of suicide, Mr Robin said: “People who commit suicide usually do so alone….I don’t call it a suicide.”
– He refused to give details on his religion, saying: “I don’t think it’s necessarily what we should be looking for.”
– Lubitz is a German national who has never been flagged as a terrorist. Lufthansa’s regular security checks turned up nothing untoward on the co-pilot.
– Information from the black box cockpit voice recorder indicate the co-pilot did not say a word once the captain left the cockpit.
– Neighbours who had seen Lubitz grow up in Montabaur said he had showed no signs of depression when they saw him last autumn.
– One told the German newspaper Rhein-Zeitung: “His big dream was to become a pilot. He pursued and achieved this goal with vigour.”
– Peter Ruecker, a member of a glider club who watched him learn to fly, said: “He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well. He had a lot of friends, he wasn’t a loner.”
– Lubitz joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.
– Lubitz had obtained his glider pilot’s license as a teenager and was accepted as a Lufthansa pilot trainee after finishing a tough German college preparatory school. Mr Ruecker described Lubitz as a “rather quiet” but friendly young man.
WHO WAS THE PILOT?
– The captain had more than 6,000 hours of flying time and been a Germanwings pilot since May 2014, having previously flown for Lufthansa and Condor, Lufthansa said.
– The captain has been named as Patrick S, a father to two children who flew for over 10 years for Lufthansa and Germanwings and had completed more than 6,000 flight hours on the Airbus 320, according to Bild newspaper.
– The French website Europe1 interviewed a former colleague, identified only as â€œDieterâ€, who described Patrick as â€œone of the bestâ€. “He was someone very reliable, he was one of the best pilots we had,” said Dieter. “I am 100 per cent sure they did the best they could. That’s what I think because I knew him very well.â€
– The Airbus A320, on a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, began to descend from cruising altitude after losing radio contact with ground control and slammed into the remote mountain on Tuesday morning, killing all 150 people on board.-Yahoo! News