Last night, we learned that black-box audio recordings appeared to show the pilot of the doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 had been locked out of the cockpit and was attempting to gain entry – politely at first, but acting with increasing urgency as the plane descended, until at the end it sounded as if he was trying to smash the armored cockpit door down.
This morning, news is breaking that a prosecutor in France has said the co-pilot crashed the plane deliberately. Alternate theories suggested the co-pilot might have passed out or died from natural causes, or perhaps as a result of cockpit de-pressurization due to a mechanical fault. However, the Associated Press quotes Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin declaring it was the co-pilot’s “intention to destroy this plane.”
Robin said “it was absolute silence in the cockpit” after the captain left. “It is clear that the co-pilot took advantage of the flight captain leaving the cockpit,” he asserted. He also stated he was convinced the co-pilot was conscious until the moment of impact, ruling out theories of incapacity due to natural causes.
Based on this, the incident has been reclassified as voluntary manslaughter, rather than its previous designation as involuntary. The prosecutor made some conflicting comments about how there was “nothing to suggest a terrorist attack,” but also remarked that he would not consider the co-pilot’s actions “suicide,” since so many other people died with him. Presumably he means the co-pilot has no known links to organized terrorist groups.
There is late word that the co-pilot has been identified as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, and is apparently of German extraction. It was previously disclosed that he signed up with Germanwings immediately after completing his Lufthansa pilot training, and had a relatively sparse 630 hours of flight time, compared to the captain’s six thousand hours.