Andreas Lubitz is accused of intentionally crashing a Germanwings flight into the French Alps, leading investigators on a quest to find the motivation of a man with no clear ties to terrorism or extremism and described as dedicated to his job.
Lubitz, a German national, was co-piloting a Germanwings flight that crashed into a mountain, killing all 144 passengers and six crew members. The plan had an eight-minute descent before crashing, which investigators now believe is due to Lubitz locking the pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally crashing the plane.
There are still few clues as to why Andreas Lubitz may have crashed the plane. The flight recording reportedly offers nothing in the way of motive, showing only the pilot leaving the cockpit and leaving it to Lubitz.
“We hear the pilot ask the co-pilot to take control of the plane and we hear at the same time the sound of a seat moving backwards and the sound of a door closing,” said Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin.
Robin said there was “absolute silence in the cockpit” as the pilot tried to fight his way back inside.
Investigators are also looking into Lubitz’s background and whether he left any clues as to his intention to crash the Germanwings plane. Carsten Spohr, head of Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said he was “100 percent fit to fly without caveats.”
Spohr added that there was nothing that could have stopped the tragedy.
“We have no indication what could have led the co-pilot to commit this terrible act,” he said. “Such an isolated act can never be completely ruled out. The best system in the world can’t stop it.”
But other countries have more stringent policies to prevent such situations. After 9/11, the United States required that at least two people be in the cockpit at any time. If a pilot or co-pilot has to leave to use the bathroom or for any other reason, a member of the crew remains in their place until they return.
Officials have already dug into the co-pilot’s past. Andreas Lubitz was accepted into a pilot training program in 2008 and did training in Bremen, Germany, and Phoenix. Lubitz took some time off in the midst of the program, which takes a year and a half to two years to complete, but officials did not announce the reason for the interruption.
Lubitz worked as an airline steward for 11 months while he was completing his training, and then joined Germanwings in 2013 as a pilot.
Andreas Lubitz reportedly had no known links to extremism or terrorism, making the mystery of his allegedly crashing the Germanwings plane even more difficult to solve.
[Image via Getty Images/Sean Gallup]