A Germanwings crash report has revealed that doctors who treated Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz for depression and mental illness before he intentionally crashed a plane into the Alps, killing 150 people, refused to speak with French investigators who were trying to prevent a similar sequence from ever happening again.
On Sunday, investigators recommended that new rules requiring medical workers to warn authorities when a pilot’s mental health could threaten public safety be implemented, according to NBC News.
At a closed-door meeting Saturday in Barcelona, the French investigators told the victim’s family members that the German doctors were not required by law to talk about Andreas Lubitz’ medical conditions, and they didn’t.
— AJE News (@AJENews) March 13, 2016
Lubitz, 27, along with 149 other passengers, were killed March 24, 2015, when Lubitz flew the plane he was piloting into the side of a mountain. As reported by the ABC News, most of the victims of Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf were from Spain and Germany.
Lubitz had previously been treated for depression and suicidal tendencies and reports show that he hid his medical history from employers.
According to Robert Tansill Oliver, a family member who attended the Germanwings relatives’ meeting and spoke about what was said in the closed meeting, BEA crash investigators were able to obtain detailed German medical records about Lubitz but “they emphasized that the doctors, those who treated him, refused to give any information.”
Although BEA declined to comment on the private meeting, the French investigators reportedly told relatives that one of their safety recommendations would be that doctors be required to provide authorities with information about pilots’ mental health issues.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 13, 2016
The meeting was held to allow the Germanwings crash victims’ relatives to hear about a BEA report that is expected to make recommendations to help aviation agencies and airlines around the world prevent similar crashes before it was released to the public on Sunday.
Germanwings and Lufthansa continue to deny any wrongdoing in the crash, insisting that the co-pilot was certified fit to fly.
According to reports, Lubitz visited 41 doctors in the months before the crash and none warned his employer or authorities that he might be too ill to fly.
Oliver told the Associated Press that BEA representatives told victims’ relatives in Barcelona they wanted to get to the bottom of Lubitz’ mental status when took his own life and those of 149 other people.
“They would have liked to have talked to the doctors who treated Lubitz to understand why he acted in such a suicidal way. They wanted to understand why a young pilot with supposedly a nice family life would want to commit suicide. They wanted to find out why he did what he did, the root causes.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 13, 2016
Oliver said relatives of the Germanwings crash victims “were really upset” about the explanations given by BEA representatives at the meeting in Barcelona.
“People were not happy at all with some of the explanations. Some of the family members felt as if these BEA representatives were Lubitz’ lawyers — making excuses as to why Germanwings didn’t take action knowing what they knew. How is it possible Germanwings would let a crazy guy fly a plane? He was mentally unbalanced, tremendously unbalanced?”
One recommendation by the agency is for better transparency between doctors who treat pilots and their employers, Oliver said.
“Everyone in the auditorium was asking the same question: ‘Why did these German doctors refuse to talk to you?”
Oliver added that he believes Germany also needs to change its privacy laws to require doctors who treat pilots to talk to investigators in the future.
[Photo by Francis Pellier MI DICOM/Ministere de l’Interieur/Getty Images]