In a shocking development of the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash it has been revealed that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps.
The plane’s black box, which was recovered, has revealed a disturbing account of the cockpit recording. At the press conference Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit after the senior officer had left the flight deck, and then used the flight managing system to put the plane into a descent – which can only be done manually – and deliberately. He also pushed the aircraft’s throttles back to idle and selected the jet’s maximum operating speed.
“The intention was to destroy the plane. Death was instant. The plane hit the mountain at 430mph (700kmh),” Robin said.
The audio recording reveals the captain, German father-of-two Patrick Sonderheimer, asking to be let in, speaking through the intercom, and later pounding on the door. Robin said Lubitz “voluntarily” refused to open the door.
The crash, which killed all 150 on board, is not being treated as a terrorist attack or suicide. Robin said they had asked for information from the German investigation on both his profession and personal background. Reports have surfaced of past struggles with depression but also of a respected man who loved flying.
The cockpit voice recorder is designed to store two hours of conversation and withstand impacts of up to 3400 times the force of gravity.