CNN reported breaking news that the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash in the French Alps on Tuesday, March 24, appears to have been deliberate. All 144 passengers and crew of 6 aboard the airplane were killed.
Passengers on the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, were from at least 15 different countries, including three Americans. Two of them were a mother and daughter on vacation from Nokesville, Virginia. Included also were 16 German students from the same school, along with their two Spanish teachers, who had been on a week-long exchange trip to Barcelona and were on their way back to Germany. One of the teachers had been married less than six months. A Spanish mother and her 7-month-old-baby died in the crash. Among the victims was a father of two who was expecting another child.
The New York Times reported that the crash was not weather-related because it was a clear day. From the black box cockpit voice recorder, the two pilots were heard having a calm conversation before the captain left the cockpit. He was heard knocking on the door to get back in as the plane was descending. Apparently the co-pilot had manually locked him out and began descending the plane in a manner that could only have been done deliberately. Passengers were heard screaming as the plane was going down. Because of the steady breathing heard coming from the cockpit, the co-pilot was alive until the plane crashed, says prosecutor Brice Robin.
Robin said his conclusion is preliminary, but the only logical explanation for the crash is that the co-pilot caused the crash by refusing to open the door to the cockpit and then using a button to cause the plane to lose altitude.
USA Today reported that the co-pilot has been identified as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, a German national, who had joined Germanwings last year. Lubitz had passed all flight and medical examinations and had clocked over 600 hours of flying time. He was not on any terrorist list. Even so, officials said Lubitz should not have been left alone in the cockpit. On most flights when one pilot has to leave, a flight attendant goes into the cockpit until the pilot returns.
Lufthansa, the parent company of low-cost airline Germanwings, is investigating these allegations. In the meantime, Lufthansa is providing financial support to the victims’ families.
As of now, it appears that officials are convinced that the Germanwings 9525 crash was no accident. They strongly believe Lubitz intentionally descended the plane that crashed in the French Alps. If this is proven to be true, then it was not just suicide. Instead, it was mass murder.
[Image via Getty Images]