Friday 30 September 2016

Germanwings crash: father of man killed in tragedy blames airline for letting co-pilot fly

Catherine Wylie

Published 13/03/2016 | 08:04

The father of a British man killed in the Germanwings air crash has blamed the airline for allowing the pilot who caused the tragedy to fly.

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Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf crashed in the French Alps on March 24 last year, killing 150 people, and a probe found evidence suggesting co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately downed the plane after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.

A French rescue worker inspects the debris from the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps. Photo: REUTERS
A French rescue worker inspects the debris from the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps. Photo: REUTERS

Philip Bramley's son Paul, 28, died along with two other Britons - Martyn Matthews, 50, from Wolverhampton, and seven-month-old Julian Pracz-Bandres, from Manchester, who died alongside his mother, Spanish-born Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio, 37.

Mr Bramley, 60, from Hull, told the Sunday Mirror that if one of the 41 doctors who had seen him had reported their concerns, his son "would still be alive".

He said: "But it's my view that the airline is at fault.

"They should be more diligent about who they employ and have more safeguards to stop people slipping through the net."

CEO of Germanwings Thomas Winkelmann, centre, shakes hands with French gendarmes near the site of the Germanwings jet crash, in Le Vernet, France, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
CEO of Germanwings Thomas Winkelmann, centre, shakes hands with French gendarmes near the site of the Germanwings jet crash, in Le Vernet, France, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
CEO of Germanwings Thomas Winkelmann and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, left, lay a wreath of flowers at a stone slab erected as a monument in memory of the victims, near the site of the Germanwings jet crash, in Le Vernet, France, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (L) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann carry flowers as they pay their respects at the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
CEO of Germanwings Thomas Winkelmann and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, left, arrive with a wreath of flowers at a stone slab erected as a monument, set up in memory of the victims in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in the French Alps, in Le Vernet, France, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
CEO of Germanwings Thomas Winkelmann and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, left, arrive with a wreath of flowers at a stone slab erected as a monument in memory of the victims, near the site of the Germanwings jet crash, in Le Vernet, France, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (L) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann they pay their respects at the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (L) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann pay their respects at the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (C) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann (2ndL) speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann (L) arrive to attend a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann carry flowers as they pay their respects at the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015.REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann speak during a news conference near the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr (R) and Germanwings Managing Director Thomas Winkelmann carry flowers as they pay their respects at the memorial for the victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Vernet, near the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in French Alps April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A French rescue worker inspects the remains of the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps in this March 29, 2015, file photo. Americans fear pilots purposely crashing an airliner as much as they are afraid of a hijacking, and over a quarter are more scared of flying than they were before a copilot crashed a jet in France last week, killing 150 people, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Files

His comments come as lawyers representing the British families bereaved in the crash have urged accident investigators to make clear recommendations to improve aviation safety.

Read more: Relatives of Germanwings plane crash victims given findings of investigation

It has also emerged that Lubitz had previously been treated for depression, and among information given to the families was that he had seen 41 doctors in recent years but under German law none was able to alert his employers to his state of mind.

Investigators are due to publish their report into the crash, and the specialist aviation law team at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing British families, said it wanted to see "important lessons learned".

French accident investigation agency BEA is to release its final report on Sunday.

Irwin Mitchell say they hope it will feature recommendations to improve aviation safety including improved checks on the health of pilots and co-pilots, both physical and mental.

They want recommendations about guidance on access to the cockpit mid-flight.

The lawyers have also called for transparency and disclosure of medical records and details of the involvement of the US flight school where the co-pilot was trained.

Jim Morris, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell and former RAF pilot, who is one of the team representing the families involved, said: "The information about this tragedy has already been devastating for the families to hear."

Read more: Families of Germanwings crash victims attack 'deeply offensive' compensation offer

He said they want to know why more was not done to prevent the co-pilot from flying "when it seems clear from the evidence already available that he was a potential risk to himself and passengers".

Mr Morris added: "It's crucial that any reasonable recommendations made in the accident report to improve aviation safety are implemented as soon as possible.

"Nothing can turn back the clock or bring the innocent victims back but the families now want to see important lessons learned from this so that it reduces the risk of similar incidents.

"In particular the news regarding the extent of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's medical history and the severity of his mental health condition raises very serious questions about how he was assessed and how the fitness of commercial airline pilots should be assessed."

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