On Thursday, after meeting in Paris with relatives of the victims from the Germanwings plane crash in the Alps last March, prosecutor Brice Robin divulged some more details about the investigation to the public.
It was known that homicidal-suicidal co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was suffering from severe depression and a physical ailment, which might have been psychosomatic. Robin revealed that Lubitz saw a total of 41 doctors over the past five years, 7 of them in the month before taking the fatal flight.
As related by AFP News, Robin said Lubitz suffered from “psychosis” and was “terrified of losing his sight.” Loss of eyesight would have ended his career as a pilot.
The Associated Press says that three of Lubitz’s appointments in the month before the crash were with psychiatrists. Some of the doctors thought he was “psychologically unstable” and “unfit to fly,” but they did not report these observations to either the authorities or the pilot’s employers “because of medical secrecy requirements,” as Robin put it.
“In Germany, doctors risk prison if they disclose information about their patients to anyone unless there is evidence they intend to commit a serious crime or harm themselves,” the AP explains.
Robin said his department’s investigation “has enabled us to confirm without a shadow of a doubt… Mr. Andreas Lubitz deliberately destroyed the plane and deliberately killed 150 people, including himself.”
However, the prosecutor added, “the French penal code forbids me from opening a judicial enquiry for murder because the perpetrator is dead.”
The investigation is now being expanded to determine if anyone else can be held legally and financially liable for the crash. “We can clearly see the prosecutor’s positioning, to open an enquiry that will pose the question of manslaughter and, very clearly, faults or negligence from Lufthansa in detecting the state of Lubitz’s health,” AFP quotes Stephane Gicquel, head of a disaster support group. Lufthansa is the parent company of the Germanwings budget airline for which Lubitz for flew.
“German lawyer Peter Kortas, whose firm represents relatives of 34 victims, said negotiations with Germanwings about compensation began several days ago,” the Associated Press relates.
There is some anger among relatives of the crash victims because spelling errors on their death certificates has slowed the repatriation of their remains. “After a complaint by the families of some schoolchildren killed in the crash, who had already planned funerals, a flight returning their remains went ahead as planned on Wednesday,” AFP reports.
Only 44 of the 72 Germans aboard the crashed plane have been repatriated for burial. There were people from 18 different countries aboard the flight; Robin said all of their remains would be returned by the end of June, with unidentifiable remains interred in a “collective tomb” near the crash site.