The chief Marseille prosecutor handling the investigation of the crash of a Germanwings jetliner said on Thursday that evidence from the cockpit voice recorder indicated that the co-pilot had deliberately locked the captain out of the cockpit and steered the plane into its fatal descent.
“At this moment, in light of investigation, the interpretation we can give at this time is that the co-pilot through voluntary abstention refused to open the door of the cockpit to the commander, and activated the button that commands the loss of altitude,” the prosecutor, Brice Robin, said.
He said it appeared that the intention of the co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz, had been “to destroy the aircraft.” He said that the voice recorder showed that the co-pilot had been breathing until before the moment of impact, suggesting that he was conscious and deliberate in bringing the plane down and killing 144 passengers and five other crew members in the French Alps on Tuesday.
Why Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot, crashed the plane on purpose we may never know, and why he chose to take 149 lives with him is still a mystery.
The inquiry shows that the crash was intentional, Mr. Robin said, and he was considering changing his investigation from involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter.
He said there was no indication that it was a terrorist attack, and added that Mr. Lubitz was not known to law enforcement officials. After the news conference, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, told reporters in Berlin that security officials had checked their records after Tuesday’s crash and found no indication that anyone on board had links to terrorism.
An investigation into the background of Mr. Lubitz, who was 28 years old and came from the German town of Montabaur, is underway.
Asked if Mr. Lubitz had tried to commit suicide, the French prosecutor said, “I haven’t used the word suicide,” adding that it was “a legitimate question to ask.”
There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that are still missing, and we may never find all of them, but hopefully officials in France can reconstruct what happened, and we can start asking why a co-pilot would be in the seat alone and able to lock the pilot out of the cockpit.