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Co-pilot willfully crashed Germanwings plane: French prosecutor

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Paris, March 26: The co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 flight deliberately crashed the airliner killing all 144 passengers and six crew members on board, the French prosecutor said on Thursday. The action of the first officer, Andreas G Lubitz of the crashed Germanwings A320 in the French Alps “can be alysed as his intention to destroy the aircraft”, said Brice Robin at a press conference on Thursday in Marseille. The prosecutor told media that they had come to this conclusion after listening to the cockpit voice recorder recovered from the crash site, the Spanish news agency EFE said.

Lufthansa officials told media they were left “speechless” at Germanwings at this delberate act of the co-pilot who had no history or background of terrorism. Lubitz had joined the company in September 2013 and had a flying time of 630 hours to his credit. Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said this was the “most terrible event” in the history of his company, according to the BBC.

Robin said the 28-year-old co-pilot appears to have deliberately refused to open the door for the captain who had left the cockpit briefly after Flight 4U 9525 took off from Barcelo.

He said that for the first 20 minutes of the flight, there was “normal conversation” between the two pilots till the captain decided to leave the cockpit. The moving of the seat and shutting of the door could be heard. Later they could make out a banging on the door, with the captain asking the co-pilot to open the door. This could be heard on the speaker phone that the captain used. The co-pilot was alive till the last moment, as his breathing could be heard, but he apparently chose not to speak up or respond to the captain, the prosecutor said, adding that no words were spoken in the last 10 minutes before the plane crashed around 11 a.m. local time on Tuesday in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the southern French Alps. He said the plane started its descent even as the captain was asking to be allowed in. “This could only be from a deliberate act” on the part of the co-pilot, the prosecutor said. According to Robin, there was no indication that the co-pilot was a terrorist. An earlier report in the New York Times revealed that one of the two pilots of the crashed flight 4U9525 left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was uble to get back in. “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer, and then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer, and you can hear he is trying to smash the door down,” a senior military official involved in the investigation was quoted as saying.

“We don’t know yet the reason why the pilot went out, but what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door,” he said. Germanwings said it was working on obtaining more information but would not participate in “any kind of speculation”, adding that the investigation on causes of the “accident” falls to the authorities responsible. On Wednesday, Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, said the crash was inexplicable as the aircraft was in good condition and pilots were experienced. “We cannot comprehend how a technically flawless airplane steered by two experienced pilots could encounter such a situation at cruising altitude,” said Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr in a statement. “We cannot believe that this has happened.”

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, however, warned against speculation about causes of the crash, saying that there was no reliable evidence that a third party was involved in the tragedy. (IANS)

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