The Germanwings Flight 9525 inexplicably crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. However, blackbox audio recordings indicate that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit at the time of the crash. In the audio, the pilot can be heard attempting to slam down the door to regain entry.
The New York Times reports that an unnamed source close to the Germanwings investigation has revealed the startling new revelation. Though investigators are still uncertain what exactly caused the Germanwings crash that would kill all 150 people on board, the black box audio recordings have provided at least one new piece of information regarding irregularities in the flight.
The Times claims that the blackbox recording shows that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit at the time of the crash. In the recording, the Germanwings pilot can be heard leaving the cockpit and returning a short time later. Upon return, the pilot gently knocks at the door. However, the other pilot does not respond. The pilot who is locked out continues to knock on the door with increasing severity, eventually trying to smash down the door. The other pilot would never respond and the plane would crash into the side of a mountain, disintegrating on impact.
“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. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
The source says that they are still trying to decipher all the sounds heard on the Germanwings recording and analyzing voices. However, it is indicated that the flight was completely normal and the audio in the cockpit was entirely normal up until the pilot left the cockpit. The source did not give a reason as to why the pilot left or a conclusion as to why the other pilot did not respond to his knocks.
However, aviation professionals chatting about the new evidence in the Germanwings plane crash investigation have discussed the possibility of the other pilot being incapacitated for some reason, such as a loss in cabin pressure.
“Among the theories that have been put forward by air safety analysts not involved in the investigation is the possibility that a pilot could have been incapacitated by a sudden event such as a fire or a drop in cabin pressure.”
The possibility of foul play or pilot suicide has not been entirely ruled out. One French official noted that the circumstances surrounding the crash are still “very weird.” It was noted that deliberate actions are still being considered as a possible cause of the Germanwings crash.
The Huffington Post notes that in the United States, after 9/11, pilots are not allowed to remain in the cockpit alone. If one of the pilots needs to leave the cockpit for any reason, a flight attendant must take his or her place. However, it was not immediately clear if European airlines have adopted the same practice or if the procedure was simply not followed for the Germanwings flight that crashed into the French Alps.