Monday 18 December 2017

Black box shows Lubitz accelerated jet to crash

Andreas Lubitz
Andreas Lubitz

Henry Samuel in Paris

Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately caused the plane crash in the French Alps, even accelerating its descent, readings from the second black box have confirmed.

A day after finding the mangled and blackened flight data recorder from the Alps crash site in southeastern France, investigators said the box revealed that Lubitz repeatedly accelerated the airliner to hasten its collision course with the mountain.

France's air accident bureau, BEA, said that the German clearly changed the settings to increase the plane's speed.

"A first reading shows that the pilot in the cockpit used the automatic pilot to descend the plane towards an altitude of 100 feet. Then, several times during the descent, the pilot changed the automatic pilot settings to increase the aircraft's speed," BEA said.

Investigators are "continuing to determine the precise sequence of events during the flight", BEA added.

The revelations came as top French psychiatrist Samuel Lepastier said it was highly likely Lubitz was suffering from schizophrenia given the strong medication he was on - notably Olanzapine, whose side effects can include "unusual changes in personality, thoughts or behaviour; hallucinations and suicidal tendencies". "It is highly likely he was schizophrenic, given the medication he was taking," Dr Lepastier, head of research at Paris Diderot university said.

On Tuesday, Germanwings parent Lufthansa confirmed that when Lubitz resumed pilot training in 2009 he provided the flight school with medical documents showing he had gone through a "previous episode of severe depression".

Dr Lepastier said Lubitz's initial severe depressive episode "could have been the first manifestation of schizophrenia, which often first strikes in one's early 20s". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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