Co-pilot of crashed plane suffered ‘heavy depressions’

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BERLIN: The Germanwings co-pilot said to have deliberately crashed his Airbus with 149 others aboard into the French Alps suffered serious depressions six years ago, German daily Bild reported on Friday.

The co-pilot sought psychiatric help for “a bout of heavy depressions” in 2009 and was still getting assistance from doctors, the newspaper said, quoting documents from Germany’s air transport regulator Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA).

Andreas Lubitz, 28, was receiving “regular private medical” treatment, Bild reported, saying Germanwings’ parent company Lufthansa had transmitted this information to the LBA.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr saidLubitz had suspended his pilot training, which began in 2008, “for a certain period,” but did not give more details. Lubitz later continued and was able to qualify for the Airbus A320 in 2013.


Bild said that during the period of his training setback, Lubitz had suffered “depressions and anxiety attacks.”

The pilot’s records were due to be examined by experts in Germany also on Friday before being handed to French investigators, it added.

Two pieces of property used by Lubitz in western Germany were searched by police late Thursday as officials seek clues into how the outwardly level-headed pilot could have decided to commit what is thought to have been suicide and mass murder.

Police searching Lubitz’s home said also on Friday they had seized evidence but no “smoking gun.”

Officers combing through a flat kept by Lubitz in Duesseldorf said they had seized “various items and papers,” police spokesperson Marcel Fiebig told Agence France-Presse.

“We will see whether this will explain what happened–everything is being examined,” he said, adding that there was no “smoking gun” to shed light on a possible motive.

Duesseldorf prosecutors have opened a parallel inquiry to the main investigation underway in France as many among the 150 crash victims were from the German region.
Lubitz, who local authorities say was 27, spent most of his time at his parents’ home in the small western town of Montabaur.

That upscale residence on a quiet leafy street was also cordoned off by police also on
Thursday and searched as camera teams massed outside.

Men wearing gloves came out carrying briefcases, bags and boxes, an AFP journalist reported.

The city’s public prosecutor said in a written statement that searches in Duesseldorf and other places were aimed at “the discovery and securing of personal documents” to help clarify the situation.

Ax in cockpit

The captain locked out of the cockpit of the Germanwings plane used an axe to try and force his way back in, Bild said also Friday, citing security sources.

The cockpit flight recorder showed that the captain repeatedly knocked and tried to get back in as the plane went into its fatal descent, French prosecutors said.

Bild, however, reported that the captain also tried using an axe to break down the cockpit’s armored door.

This could not be immediately confirmed, but a spokesman for Germanwings confirmed to AFP that an axe was on board the aircraft.

Such a tool is “part of the safety equipment of an A320,” the spokesman told Bild.

AFP

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3 Comments

  1. Samuel Santos on

    I pray our noynoying President never ever experiences “a bout of heavy depressions.” Good Lord, forbid.