Suicide and mass murder by the co-pilot: that explains the deaths of 150 people aboard Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
The co-pilot was named as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, who had joined Germanwings last year.
Brice Robin, the Marseille public prosecutor, told a press conference that the first officer had locked the captain out of the cockpit and set the controls of the Airbus A320 for a rapid descent and the eventual crash into the French Alps.
Immediately beforehand, conversation between the two pilots was normal, said M Robin. He revealed chilling evidence from the cockpit voice recorder about what the co-pilot did next: “He voluntarily allowed the aircraft to lose altitude. He had no reason to do this. He had no reason to stop the captain coming back into the cockpit.”
The prosecutor said the co-pilot was breathing normally throughout the eight-minute descent. But he neither spoke nor responded in any way to alarms within the aircraft and from the ground. He outlined the sequence of events from the moment the captain asked the co-pilot to take over while he went to the toilet.
“The co-pilot at that moment alone uses the flight management system that starts the descent of the aircraft. This action can only be done voluntarily.” He ruled out the possibilities that anyone else was in the cockpit, and that the co-pilot had collapsed and inadvertently triggered a descent.
“We hear several cries of the pilot asking for access through the intercom system. But there’s no answer from the co-pilot.”