A major overhaul of flight safety was under way last night after it emerged that the Germanwings airline disaster was caused by the deliberate actions of a depressive pilot who was left alone in the cockpit.
Andreas Gunter Lubitz, a 27-year-old with just 630 hours’ flying experience, waited until the captain of Flight 4U 9525 went to the bathroom, before locking the cockpit door and putting the aircraft into a slow but fatal dive.
All 150 people on board were killed when the Airbus A320 smashed into the Alps following an eight-minute descent, during which the captain attempted in vain to smash his way through the reinforced cockpit door.
The final moments of the flight were revealed by black-box recordings which detailed how Lubitz sat in silence, ignoring pleas from the captain and air traffic controllers.
The recordings also revealed that passengers on the plane only realised they were about to crash at the last moment.
It also emerged that the co-pilot had interrupted his flight training eight years ago after suffering from depression and ‘burn out’, but was later cleared to resume training.
Last night, aviation authorities began a review of air safety in Europe after it emerged that, unlike US carriers, planes in Europe are not required to have at least two people in the cockpit at all times.
As the bereaved families arrived at the scene of the crash, investigators revealed that their loved ones had not died in a tragic accident, but had been the victims of a mass murder.
The parents of Lubitz also only learned their son had deliberately caused the disaster as they arrived at the press conference organised by prosecutors, and relatives of the victims had to be kept apart from them.