Germanwings co-pilot ‘researched suicide methods, cockpit door security’ before crash

Germanwings co-pilot ‘researched suicide methods, cockpit door security’ before crash

 Investigators have collected documents and other evidence from the home of Andreas Lubitz (inset) to gain more information about the Germanwings co-pilot thought to have crashed the plane deliberately. Photo: Xinhua

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz spent time online researching suicide methods and cockpit door security in the week before crashing Flight RU 9525, prosecutors said – the first evidence that the fatal descent may have been a premeditated act.

As the browsing history on a tablet computer found at Lubitz’s apartment added a disturbing new piece to the puzzle of the March 24 crash, French investigators said they had recovered the Airbus A320’s flight data recorder, another step toward completing the picture.

Attention has focused on Lubitz since investigators evaluated the plane’s cockpit voice recorder last week. They believe the 27-year-old locked his captain out of the cockpit during the flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and deliberately plunged the plane into a French mountainside.

Duesseldorf prosecutors said they had reviewed search terms from March 16-23 that were in the browser memory of the computer found in Lubitz’s home in the city.

The co-pilot researched “on one hand medical treatment methods, and on the other hand informed himself about types and ways of going about a suicide,” prosecutors’ spokesman Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement.

“In addition, on at least one day, [Lubitz] concerned himself for several minutes with search terms about cockpit doors and their security precautions,” he added.

Pictures showing the mangled second black box, the flight data recorder, from the crashed Germanwings plane. Photo: AP

In Marseille, prosecutor Brice Robin underlined French investigators’ conviction that “he was alive until the moment of impact, we are nearly certain. … Alive and conscious”.

He also said the co-pilot appears to have acted repeatedly to stop an excessive speed alarm from sounding.

Prosecutors didn’t specify what medical treatment Lubitz was looking into and declined to disclose the individual search terms that he used. They said personal correspondence and search terms on the tablet “support the conclusion that the machine was used by the co-pilot in the relevant period.”

Robin said investigators had found 150 DNA profiles – matching the number of people aboard the plane – but it will take time to match them with DNA samples provided by victims’ families.

[Lubitz] was alive until the moment of impact, we are nearly certain. … Alive and conscious

Investigators hope the flight data recorder will reveal more information on what happened to the plane and the co-pilot’s actions at the controls. Robin said it was found by a gendarme (French police) buried on the side of a ravine that was “already explored several times”.

The flight data recorder was “completely blackened” as though it had been burned, but it was “possibly useable,” Robin said. It captures 25 hours of information on the position and condition of nearly every part of the plane.

German prosecutors have said Lubitz’s medical records from before he received his pilot’s licence referred to “suicidal tendencies,” but visits to doctors since then showed no record of that or aggression toward others.

Investigators also found torn-up notes from doctors excusing Lubitz from work, including one that would have kept him off work on the day of the crash.

Earlier this week, Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, said it knew six years ago that Lubitz had suffered from an episode of “severe depression” before he finished his flight training.

However, Germanwings, which hired Lubitz in September 2013, said Thursday it had been unaware of the depressive episode.

Prosecutors have said that they haven’t found any sign of a physical illness and have no evidence he told anyone what he was going to do.

A pilot stands inside the cockpit during boarding for the newly named Germanwings flight 4U9441, formerly flight 4U9525, from Barcelona to Dusseldorf – the same route taken by the ill-fated plane. Photo: Reuters

Also Thursday, Germany announced the creation of an expert task force to examine what went wrong and consider whether changes are needed regarding cockpit doors, how pilots pass medical evaluations and how companies recognise psychological problems in employees.

France’s air accident investigation agency is already examining cockpit entry and psychological screening procedures.

The A320 is designed with safeguards to allow emergency entry into the cockpit if a pilot inside is unresponsive. But the override code known to the crew doesn’t go into effect if the person in the cockpit specifically denies entry.

The impact of the crash shattered the plane into tiny pieces. Robin said that investigators have found and studied 2,854 body parts at the site.

They also found 42 cellphones in what Robin called a “very, very damaged” condition.

No video or audio from the cellphones of those aboard the plane has been released publicly. However, a French reporter says he viewed video from one cellphone video thanks to an intermediary close to the crash investigation, although he does not have a copy of it himself.

Frederic Helbert, who reported on the video this week in the French magazine Paris-Match and the German tabloid Bild, told The Associated Press that it was shot from the back of the plane, so “you cannot see their faces, but you can hear them screaming and screaming”.

“No one is moving or getting up,” he told the AP in Paris. “People understand something terrible is going to happen.”

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 April, 2015, 10:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 April, 2015, 10:57am

#AndreasLubitz  #GermanwingsCrash

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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