French Officials Say Germanwings Copilot Crashed The Plane On Purpose
The tragic accident that sent a Germanwings airplane crashing into the French Alps might have been deliberately caused by the copilot, French officials now believe.
According to The Daily Beast, a French prosecutor said on Thursday that the copilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and purposely drove the plane into a mountain at over 400 mph.
The captain left the cockpit shortly after sending a message to air traffic control that the plane was maintaining its route.
Why he made the exit remains unknown.
Audio recordings indicate that the captain was then locked out of the cockpit.
He knocked on the door and received no answer before unsuccessfully trying to break the door down, The New York Times reports.
The plane crashed into the French Alps minutes later, shattering into thousands of pieces.
There was no communication to air traffic control as the plane plummeted thousands of feet in less than 10 minutes.
Air traffic controllers tried to make contact several times, but their attempts were in vain.
The copilot has been identified as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz of Montabaur, Germany, according to The New York Times.
The prosecutor claims he "manipulated the flight management system to manage the descent."
The audio recording also shows that Lubitz was breathing just before the crash, further suggesting his actions were entirely voluntary.
The captain and copilot had spoken to each other in a "cheerful" and "courteous" manner during the beginning of the flight, the prosecutor said.
Germanwings revealed the captain had about 6,000 hours of flight time, which The Daily Beast says is low for a captain.
Lubitz, however, had just finished flight school in 2013 and had logged only 630 hours of flight time.
Such inexperience would typically prevent a captain from leaving the copilot alone at the controls.
Investigators will now search for a motive for the crash that took the lives of 150 people.
At least two Americans were on Flight 9525, including a 22-year-old girl who graduated from Drexel University in 2013.
Citations: Kamikaze Co Pilot Accused of Mass Murder (The Daily Beast), Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France (The New York Times), Germanwings Co Pilot Deliberately Crashed Airbus Jet (The New York Times)