Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz admitted depression – Sydney Morning Herald
Andreas Lubitz is suspected of locking his co-pilot out of the cockpit before deliberately crashing Germanwings Flight 4U9525. Photo: Reuters
- ‘The pain is almost unbearable': Australian family
- Andreas Lubitz treated for suicidal tendencies
- Co-pilot told captain ‘You can go now’
Berlin: The co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings plane in the French Alps had informed his employer that he had undergone a “previous episode of severe depression”.
Lufthansa which owns Germanwings, said 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz had told the company in 2009 about his illness after interrupting his flight training.
Lufthansa added that it had handed additional documents, especially medical and training documents, to prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf after “further internal investigations”.
The airline had until now only said that Lubitz had interrupted his training for several months six years ago but its chief Carsten Spohr had not provided an explanation as to why he did so.
The chief executives of Lufthansa and Germanwings will travel on Wednesday to the crash area.
Spohr, head of the parent company Lufthansa, and Thomas Winkelmann from the Germanwings low-cost subsidiary will visit Seyne-les-Alpes early on Wednesday to pay their respects to the dead.
French President Francois Hollande meanwhile said on a one-day visit to Berlin that identifying the 150 people on board Flight 4U9525 would help allow the families to grieve.
“The interior minister (Bernard Cazeneuve) has confirmed that by the end of the week, it would be possible to identify all the victims thanks to the DNA samples taken and to this exceptional scientific work,” Hollande said.
The French president was speaking at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a joint meeting of their two cabinets.
“There are no more bodies at the site. Tomorrow 20 military climbers will go there with teams to recover the personal effects,” Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Marc Menechini told AFP near the crash site.
A local regional official from the crash area Patricia Willaert told reporters on Tuesday that more than 450 relatives had made their way there so far.
Lufthansa meanwhile said $US300 million ($394 million) in provisions had been earmarked to cover the damages.
The director of operations at Germanwings, Oliver Wagner, has said that the company would immediately compensate each family with $50,000 ($70,586).
This sum would not be deducted from any final compensation deal, he added.
The catastrophe has dealt a heavy blow to Lufthansa’s image and it announced Tuesday it would cancel celebrations next month marking the airline’s 60th anniversary “out of respect for the crash victims of flight 4U9525″.
Investigators evaluating voice recorder data from a “black box” located last week say the co-pilot apparently locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately slammed the plane into a French mountainside.
The plane crashed at a speed of 700km/h, instantly killing all 150 people on board, including two Australians.
Lubitz was diagnosed as suicidal “several years ago”, before he became a pilot, but had appeared more stable of late, German prosecutors said Monday.
Doctors had recently found no sign he intended to hurt himself or others, said Ralf Herrenbrueck, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Duesseldorf.
However, he was receiving treatment from neurologists and psychiatrists who had signed him off sick from work a number of times, including the day of the crash.
The second “black box” recorder, which gathered technical data on the flight, has yet to be found.