October 24, 2020

Germanwings plane 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps UPDATE: Co-pilot ‘wanted to destroy plane’

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UPDATE From BBC March 26 2015

The co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, named as Andreas Lubitz, appeared to want to “destroy the plane”, officials said.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the “black box” voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit.

He intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out.

Mr Robin said there was “absolute silence in the cockpit” as the pilot fought to re-enter it.

He said air traffic controllers made repeated attempts to contact the aircraft, but to no avail. Passengers could be heard screaming just before the crash, he added.

Details are emerging of the German co-pilot’s past – although his apparent motives for causing the crash remain a mystery.

For more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32063587

STATEMENT FROM GERMANWINGS

Germanwings continues to have “full faith in our pilots”, the company says in a new statement in line with comments by Lufthansa executives earlier today. The statement also reiterates that Andreas Lubitz appears responsible for the deaths of 150 people.

“We are horrified to discover today that the aircraft that crashed in the south of France appears to have been crashed deliberately – probably by the co-pilot of flight 4U9525. Based on audio taken from the voice recorder, the French authorities have come to the conclusion that after the aircraft had reached cruising altitude, the captain left the cockpit for a short time and was then unable to re-enter.

“It appears that the co-pilot, who had stayed in the cockpit, prevented the captain from re-entering by fully locking the cockpit door in order to then initiate the fatal descent. All Germanwings and Lufthansa employees are deeply shocked. We could never have imagined that a tragedy like this could occur within our company.

“Yet even after this terrible event, we have full faith in our pilots. They remain the best in the world; this event is an extremely tragic isolated incident.

“We share in the sadness, shock and incomprehension of the bereaved families and friends and that of millions of other people.”

Original story from From BBC March 24 2015

A Germanwings plane carrying 150 people has crashed in the French Alps on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

The Airbus A320 – flight 4U 9525 – went down between Digne and Barcelonnette. There are no survivors, officials say.

_81876320_france_crash_624_v4The “black box” flight recorder has been found, France’s interior minister says. The cause of the crash is not known and the plane sent no distress signal during an eight-minute descent.

Among the passengers were 16 German pupils returning from an exchange trip.

Germanwings, a low-cost airline owned by Germany’s main carrier Lufthansa, has an excellent safety record. French, Spanish and German leaders have expressed shock.

“This is the hour in which we all feel deep sorrow,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters, adding that she was _81882153_81882152planning to travel to the crash site.

A recovery team reached the site, in a remote mountain ravine, earlier on Tuesday. Their work was called off in the evening and will resume at first light on Wednesday, the French interior ministry said.

Bruce Robin, a prosecutor from Marseille, told the Reuters _81882107_81882106news agency that he had seen the wreckage of the aircraft from a helicopter.

“The body of the plane is in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage,” he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also flown over the crash site and described it as “a picture _81869210_81869209of horror”, the Associated Press news agency says.

Officials believe 67 of those aboard the plane were German citizens. Forty-five of the passengers had Spanish names, Spain’s deputy prime minister said. The passengers included a German school class on its way back from an exchange trip as well as two opera singers, Maria Radner and Oleg Bryjak.

_81869212_81869211Ms Radner was travelling with her husband and baby.

Sandrine Boisse, a tourism official from the ski resort of Pra Loup, told the BBC that she had heard a strange noise in the mountains at around 11:00 (10:00 GMT).

“At first we thought it was on the ski slopes, an avalanche, but it wasn’t the same noise,” she said. “I think it was the _81882159_81882158noise of when a plane goes very quickly down.”

The plane began descending one minute after it reached its cruising height and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes, Germanwings managing director Thomas Winkelmann told reporters.

He said the aircraft lost contact with French air traffic _81882151_81882150controllers at 10:53 at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.

The plane did not send out a distress signal, officials said. Earlier reports of a distress call, quoting the French interior ministry, referred to a message from controllers on the ground.

The White House has said there is no evidence so far of a terror attack. A Lufthansa official said they were assuming for the time being that the crash had been caused by an accident.

The Airbus A320 is a single-aisle passenger jet popular for short- and medium-haul flights.

Key points:

  • Weather reportedly good when A320 Airbus came down
  • Plane descended rapidly but sent out no distress signal
  • White House says no suspicion of terrorism

Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC Transport correspondent

We know the aircraft went from a normal cruising height of 38,000 feet to crashing in the mountains in just eight minutes. One pilot told me that is twice the normal descent rate, but he also said that the aircraft is capable of coming down even more quickly and still being okay.

In an emergency, the pilots’ first priority is to fly the plane, but as soon as they have some control they are trained to make an emergency call. That didn’t appear to happen in this case, which suggests the pilots were coping with something so catastrophic they never had time to radio in a mayday, or turn to find the nearest runway.

It’s still too early to know anything for certain, but that might point to both engines failing, a fuel problem or something critical breaking off the aircraft.

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32030270

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