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Germanwings : Marseille Prosecutor’s press conference

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Germanwings : Marseille Prosecutor’s press conference

At a press conference held today, 26th March, the prosecutor of Marseille (sourthern France), Brice Robin, delivered the last elements of the investigation into the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320, which caused the deaths of the 150 people onboard. He confirmed the elements describing what had happened in the cockpit, and which had been leaked to the press.

He said that upon listening to the black box recording, the conversations between the captain and co-pilot appear normal during the first twenty minutes of the flight, but that the responses of the co-pilot were considered "laconic" during the briefing of the planned landing in Düsseldorf. The captain asked the first officer to take the controls of the aircraft.

Sounds of a seat being pushed backwards followed by that of a door closing had been heard. The captain was then absent for a few moments from the cockpit, leaving the first officer alone in control of the aircraft. At that time, the aircraft was intentionally programmed into a descent phase (FMS - Flight Monitoring System – manually activated). When the captain wanted to re-enter the cockpit, he was unable to do so.

The state prosecutor said that heavy blows were heard against the door, which the first officer did not open, neither did he respond to the demands of air traffic control. He did not say one word. However, his breathing is considered normal right up to point of impact, thus excluding any apparent incapacity.

The hypothesis is that the first officer had "the will to destroy the aircraft". The anguished cries of passengers were heard in the last minutes. Death was instantaneous. The co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, was a 28 year-old German, with 650 flight hours.

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