Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane intentionally - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane intentionally, French officials say

Posted: Updated:

By Alastair Jamieson, Carlo Angerer and Nancy Ing

NBCNEWS.COM  - One of the pilots of the crashed Germanwings plane appears to have "intentionally" forced the jet into a descent while his captain was locked out of the cockpit, prosecutors said Thursday.

The First Officer, Andreas Lubitz, was alone at the controls of the Airbus A320 as it began its rapid descent, Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference.

"Banging" sounds were heard on the crashed plane's cockpit voice recorder, Brice said, suggesting the captain was trying to regain entry to the flight deck.

However, the reinforced cockpit door was locked from the inside and could not be overridden, even with a coded entry panel.

"If he had been able to open this door, the captain would have done it," Brice said.

Lubitz "didn't say a word" during the descent, he added.

"Was it suicide? I'm not using the word, I don't know. Given the information I have at this time … I can tell you that he deliberately made possible the loss of altitude of the aircraft, which is not totally abnormal."

Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa earlier said the First Officer joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.

His captain was an "experienced" pilot, with more than 10 years' experience with the organization and more than 6,000 flight hours on the Airbus model.

Many airlines, especially U.S. carriers, have a flight attendant come into the flight deck if a pilot leaves, for example during a bathroom break.

While Lufthansa would not comment on its cockpit security procedures, it said it followed rules set out by German authorities that allow temporary absence from the flight deck.

Former pilots and aviation experts told NBC News that ultimate control of the locked, reinforced cockpit door would remain with whoever was inside the cockpit. Most planes have coded entry door controls, but these can be overridden with a double lock — a practice implemented industry-wide after the 9/11 attacks.

"The cockpit has the ultimate control of the door," said former pilot Captain John Cox. "If it is placed in the override mode then no matter what is done with the code pad, the door will remain locked. The security people were very firm on the need for the flight deck to remain the ultimate authority."

"It's likely that an airline like Lufthansa will have fitted the highest specification of security technology," said David Gleave, an aviation safety investigator based at Loughborough University near Leicester, England.

"These reinforced doors are designed to be very strong — they can't be smashed open. That's the point of them."

He added: "Even though this report has not been confirmed, investigators will be listening to the cockpit voice recorder, trying to ascertain who was in the cockpit and what was said. It's a psychologically demanding task given that you know the plane has crashed."

Meanwhile, relatives and friends of the 150 victims of Tuesday's crash began boarding special flights to bring them toward the remote crash site.


  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Florida mom blames teen's death on confusing packaging for peanut cookies

    Florida mom blames teen's death on confusing packaging for peanut cookies

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 1:05 PM EDT2018-07-17 17:05:08 GMT

    A Florida mother blames the death of her 15-year-old daughter on what she calls confusing packaging for Reese's Chips Ahoy cookies.    Kelli Travers-Stafford says her daughter Alexi mistakenly ate one of the cookies at a friend's house despite her peanut allergy, because the top of the familiar red packaging was peeled back, hiding the Reese's label.  

    >>

    A Florida mother blames the death of her 15-year-old daughter on what she calls confusing packaging for Reese's Chips Ahoy cookies.    Kelli Travers-Stafford says her daughter Alexi mistakenly ate one of the cookies at a friend's house despite her peanut allergy, because the top of the familiar red packaging was peeled back, hiding the Reese's label.  

    >>
  • Evacuations remain in place as Upriver/Beacon Hill Fire grows to 120 acres; 2 homes lost

    Evacuations remain in place as Upriver/Beacon Hill Fire grows to 120 acres; 2 homes lost

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 12:54 AM EDT2018-07-18 04:54:44 GMT

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>
  • Spokane Valley massage parlor under investigation for sex trafficking

    Spokane Valley massage parlor under investigation for sex trafficking

    Monday, July 16 2018 9:43 PM EDT2018-07-17 01:43:51 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol is investigating a Spokane Valley massage parlor for sex trafficking and prostitution. According to court documents, several men contacted authorities about the parlor, Space Oil Massage, and told them that the women who worked there asked them in private to call 911 because they were being forced to perform sex acts against their will.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol is investigating a Spokane Valley massage parlor for sex trafficking and prostitution. According to court documents, several men contacted authorities about the parlor, Space Oil Massage, and told them that the women who worked there asked them in private to call 911 because they were being forced to perform sex acts against their will.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Post Falls man dies in Spokane Valley crash

    Post Falls man dies in Spokane Valley crash

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 1:05 AM EDT2018-07-18 05:05:45 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Post Falls man died in a collision involving a motorcycle and semi truck Tuesday afternoon in Spokane Valley. Around 3:53 p.m., a Peterbilt semi-truck was heading westbound on Trent turning north into a private parking lot from the second lane when a Suzuki motorcycle in the first lane turned in front of the semi and collided. The driver of the motorcycle, 65-year-old Michael Arnold of Post Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - A Post Falls man died in a collision involving a motorcycle and semi truck Tuesday afternoon in Spokane Valley. Around 3:53 p.m., a Peterbilt semi-truck was heading westbound on Trent turning north into a private parking lot from the second lane when a Suzuki motorcycle in the first lane turned in front of the semi and collided. The driver of the motorcycle, 65-year-old Michael Arnold of Post Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    >>
  • Evacuations remain in place as Upriver/Beacon Hill Fire grows to 120 acres; 2 homes lost

    Evacuations remain in place as Upriver/Beacon Hill Fire grows to 120 acres; 2 homes lost

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 12:54 AM EDT2018-07-18 04:54:44 GMT

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>
  • Death of Spokane County Jail inmate being investigated

    Death of Spokane County Jail inmate being investigated

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:47 PM EDT2018-07-18 03:47:40 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Detectives are investigating the in-custody death of an inmate at the Spokane County Jail. Deputies were called to the jail Tuesday afternoon regarding an inmate who was found deceased in a cell while inmates were being released for "out time" for that floor. Major Crimes Detectives are processing the scene and conducting interviews of inmates and correction staff. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Detectives are investigating the in-custody death of an inmate at the Spokane County Jail. Deputies were called to the jail Tuesday afternoon regarding an inmate who was found deceased in a cell while inmates were being released for "out time" for that floor. Major Crimes Detectives are processing the scene and conducting interviews of inmates and correction staff. 

    >>