Tuesday 20 February 2018

Crash pilot 'contacted doctors'

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin speaks to the media during a press conference. (AP)
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin speaks to the media during a press conference. (AP)

A state prosecutor says the co-pilot with a history of depression who crashed a Germanwings airliner into the French Alps had reached out to dozens of doctors before the disaster.

The revelation suggests Andreas Lubitz was seeking advice about an undisclosed ailment.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin would not address the question of what symptoms Lubitz was assessing.

Mr Robin is leading a criminal investigation into the March 24 crash that killed all 150 people on board Germanwings Flight 9525. Investigators say Lubitz intentionally destroyed the plane.

Mr Robin said he will discuss the investigation with victims' relatives in Paris next week and address efforts to reduce delays in handing over remains.

Meanwhile, Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa said the families of 30 victims will receive their loved ones' remains next week.

In a statement, Lufthansa said an MD11 plane will transport the body parts from Marseille to Dusseldorf on Tuesday evening, and they will be handed to relatives on Wednesday.

Further remains will be transported to the victims' homelands over the coming weeks, it said.

Earlier this week, plans to repatriate the remains of the victims were put on hold because of errors on death certificates, angering many families.

Families will meet French investigators next week.

Investigators say Lubitz intentionally crashed the jet after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.

German prosecutors have said that in the week before the crash, he spent time online researching suicide methods and cockpit door security - the earliest evidence of a premeditated act.

Germanwings and Lufthansa had no comment on the finding, citing the ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors have previously said they found torn-up doctors' notes excusing Lubitz from work at his home, including one covering the day of the crash, and that he appears to have hidden his illness from his employer and colleagues.

Germanwings and Lufthansa have said Lubitz had passed all medical tests and was cleared by doctors as fit to fly.

Press Association

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