Frantic captain heard on black box

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 23.08

The Germanwings co-pilot who 'deliberately' crashed the plane sought psychiatric help for depression in 2009

Investigation continues ... the personal life of Andreas Lubitz is being carefully looked at. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

  • Black box reveals pilot shouting, passengers screaming
  • Co-pilot 'feared vision problems would ground him'
  • DNA found from 78 victims
  • Girlfriend of crash co-pilot reportedly pregnant

THE captain of the passenger jet that is believed to have been deliberately crashed into the French Alps reportedly shouted at the co-pilot to 'open the damn door' as he desperately tried to get into the locked cockpit.

French officials say the plane's black box voice recorder indicates that Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit of the Germanwings jet and steered the flight into a mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.

They believe that the captain, Patrick Sondheimer, tried desperately to reopen the door during the Barcelona to Dusseldorf flight's eight-minute descent after he left to use the toilet.

Forensic work ... Most body parts were being winched up to helicopters before being transported to a lab in the nearby town of Seynes. Picture: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat Source: AFP

The German mass-circulation Bild's Sunday edition reported that data from the cockpit recorder showed the captain shouted "For God's sake, open the door", as passengers' screams could be heard in the background.

It said "loud metallic blows" against the cockpit door could then be heard, before another warning alarm went off and then the pilot is heard to scream to a silent Lubitz in the cockpit "open the damn door".

Bild said that, earlier in Tuesday's flight, the captain was heard explaining to his colleague that he had not had time to go to the toilet before takeoff.

Prayers ... a priest prepares a ceremony for victims of the crash, at Notre-Dame-du-bourg Cathedral. Picture: AFP/Jeff Pachoud Source: AFP

Lubitz 'hid illness from employers'

As investigators seek to build up a picture of Lubitz and any possible motives, media reports have emerged that he suffered from eye problems, adding to earlier reports he was severely depressed.

German prosecutors believe Lubitz hid an illness from his airline but have not specified the ailment, and said he had apparently been written off sick on the day the Airbus crashed.

Bild and the New York Times, citing two officials with knowledge of the investigation, said Lubitz had sought treatment for problems with his sight.

The 27-year-old had been hospitalised as late as a fortnight ago with authorities not ruling out his eyes issue were psychosomatic.

Troubled man ... Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings airliner. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

Revelations by his ex-lover, a flight attendant identified under the assumed name Maria W, that he was a tormented man and increasingly becoming erratic was prompted by his fear his mental and eye health for which he was receiving psychiatric and neurological treatment may deem him unfit to fly.

The problem is thought to be a retinal detachment, Bild said.

Authorities have found several torn up sick notes in his Dusseldorf apartment that excused him from work but apparently were never given to his bosses.

Girlfriend rumoured to be pregnant

Bild also reported that Lubitz's girlfriend, with whom he lived in the western city of Dusseldorf, was believed to be pregnant.

It gave no sources but said the teacher, who taught maths and English, had told pupils a few weeks ago she was expecting a baby.

It came as new claims suggest Andreas Lubitz was obsessed with the Alps and specifically the southern region which he would later crash his Germanwings flight into, having flown gliders over the area years earlier.

Distraught ... Lubitz's father is a "broken man", say mayor Bernard Bartolini, who governs the town next to the crash site. Mr Bartolini spoke to the copilot's father at a memorial for relatives on Thursday. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Bad eyesight ... Andreas Lubitz was reportedly suffering from deteriorating eyesight. Picture: AFP Photo, Team Mueller Source: AFP

Another woman, Maria W, dated Lubitz for five months last year but broke it off because she felt he was not right, was volatile and had a temper. He had been in a previous long-term relationship of several years with a woman he met at Burger King where they both worked in 2008 in Montabaur in Germany and since Maria had been dating another flight attendant.

Remote terrain ... Chasseurs Alpins rescuers, the elite mountain infantry of the French Army, working at the crash site. Picture: AFP/Francis Pellier Source: AFP

Unprecedented difficulty ... some of the recovery work has to be performed by abseiling. Picture: AFP/Francis Pellier Source: AFP

'During conversations he'd suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me," Maria said. "I was afraid. He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time."

She said after she had heard about the crash she recalled a conversation Lubitz had with her.

"When I heard about the crash, there was just a tape playing in my head of what he said: 'One day I will do something that will change the system and everyone will then know my name and remember me'," she recalled

"I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's clear."

"The torn up sick notes make sense now to me and were a clear sign that he did not want to admit that his big dream of flying as a captain was over," Maria said.

Evidence found ... sick notes saying Lubitz was unfit to fly were found in his home. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

DNA found from 78 crash victims

Investigators have faced a huge task in trying to recover bodies and search for a second 'black box' at the site, which is extremely hard to access and has required specialist mountain police to accompany search teams.

"We haven't found a single body intact," said Patrick Touron, deputy director of the police's criminal research institute.

He said the difficulty of the recovery mission was "unprecedented".

"We have slopes of 40 to 60 degrees, falling rocks, and ground that tends to crumble," said Touron.

"Some things have to be done by abseiling."

Helicopters have been going back and forth to the nearby town of Seynes - around 60 trips a day.

"Since safety is key, the recovery process is a bit slow, which is a great regret," Touron said.

Most body parts were being winched up to helicopters before being transported to a lab in the nearby town of Seynes where a 50-strong team of forensic doctors and dentists and police identification specialists is working.

Between 400 and 600 body parts were currently being examined, Touron said.

Reflection ... relatives and members of emergency services at a makeshift monument to honour the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525, near the crash site. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Hundreds show solidarity at service

At the Notre-Dame-du-Bourg Cathedral, 40km from the crash site, several hundred parishioners from the district as well as members of the French and Spanish branches of the Red Cross - dispatched to assist those distressed by the incident - prayed for the victims and their families.

150 candles were lit and prayers offered for each of the passengers and crew, including Lubitz.

The Digne archbishop spoke to people's feelings of grief and confusion about the tragedy.

"We are in deep distress, plunged into sadness, unable to understand, and have strong feelings of unfairness," archbishop Jean-Philippe Nault, told some 500 faithful.

He said they had come "to express their friendship" for the families and friends of those killed on board the Airbus A320 travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it went down.

Elements of the service were given by priests from Spain and Germany in their native tongue.

One parishioner Franciscan Convent nun Sister Rosilda said it was important to attend and show solidarity.

'Plunged into sadness' ... the Digne archbishop spoke to people's feelings of grief and confusion about the tragedy. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

"We cannot understand this pilot and why he did this," she said. "But we pray for the families, the victims and the pilot as well."

A father's pain

The father of one of the victims who visited a memorial near the crash site in the village of Le Vernet said airlines to take greater care over pilots' welfare.

Philip Bramley's 28-year-old son Paul died in the crash.

"I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," Mr Bramley, from Hull in northern England said yesterday. "We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands. "What is relevant, is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever."

Lubitz had frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents.

Challenging ... a 50-strong team of forensic doctors and dentists and police identification specialists is working on victim identification. Picture: AFP/Gendarmerie Nationale Source: AFP

According to Francis Kefer, a member of the club in the town of Sisteron about 50km from the crash site, Lubitz and other members of his German glider club visited the region regularly between 1996 and 2003.

When Lubitz crashed he would have flown over the peaks and major turning points for gliders that he would have done years earlier in his glider.

Boyhood dream to fly ... The LSC Westerwald aviation club where Lubitz was a member. Picture: AFP/Roberto Pfeil Source: AFP


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