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Investigation continues

Lubitz “had treatment for suicidal tendencies”, German prosecutors say

The co -pilot received psychotherapy treatment before getting his pilot’s licence. DNA strands of 80 of the victims have been found.

FUENTES Agencies AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus DÜSSELDORF 30 DE MARZO DE 2015 18:00 h
Andreas Lubitz

According to a statement released by German prosecutors, Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz received treatment for suicidal tendencies. “The co-pilot received psychotherapy treatment, with recorded suicidal tendencies, several years ago – before receiving his pilot’s licence” the statement from Düsseldorf chief prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrück said.

However, it seems that those tendencies have not been recorded in the most recent health reports of the co-pilot. “In the following time and until recently there were further doctors’ visits and sick notes, without suicidal tendencies or aggression towards others attested”, the prosecutors explained.


Officers work at crash scene / Associated Press


No specific dates have been given. Lubitz started his training with Lufthansa in 2008 and became a pilot in 2013. He was diagnosed with a serious depressive episode in 2009 and received treatment for a year and a half, media reports said.

No claim has been made that Lubitz's condition was responsible for the accident, and Herrenbrück remained reluctant to interpret the evidence. “Please understand that the state prosecutor cannot and will not speculate on the motives of the deceased co-pilot”,  he stated. “Investigative authorities are obliged to adhere to the facts alone”, the prosecutor concluded.



Last week it was revealed that Lubitz had visited Düsseldorf University Hospital on 10 March, for what the hospital would only describe as a “diagnostic evaluation”. Because of patient confidentiality, a brief hospital statement said it would not reveal any further details, but insisted that media reports that he had been treated for depression there had been false.

Investigators found anti-depressants at Andreas Lubitz's house along with evidence of treatment by various doctors, including a torn-up sick note for the day he flew the plane.

There have also been reports that he had problems with his eyesight - possibly a detached retina. Doubts about his fitness to fly have prompted a leading politician from the ruling CDU party, Dirk Fischer, to call for a relaxation of the usual confidentiality rules. 



So far only the cockpit voice recorder has been found at the crash scene, where 150 people lost their lives.

A transcript of the voice recording leaked to German media on Sunday revealed how the captain Patrick Sondenheimer banged on the door, screaming, "Open the damn door!". In the final moments the screams of passengers could be heard.


Between 400 and 600 body parts have already been located / Getty images


Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper has reported that Sondheimer asked Lubitz to prepare the plane to land in Düsseldorf. Lubitz responded “laconically”. Sondheimer then left the cockpit to go to the toilet, telling his co-pilot: “You can take over”.

Lufthansa Board Chairman Kay Kratky appeared on German TV on Sunday night, suggesting that a full picture of the accident might never be known as the plane had flown at a speed of 800km/h (500mph) into a vertical rock face and had been pulverised.

"It's possible that the impact was too great for the flight recorder and it does not send signals. However it would still be very helpful to fill out the picture of what happened," he told the Guenther Jauch show.


Forensic experts have thus far isolated DNA from 78 different people / Reuters


There has been criticism of the French prosecutor for releasing details from the voice recorder before a full investigation is complete.

The European Cockpit Association said the release of voice recorder data was a "serious breach" of globally accepted rules. It said many questions remained unanswered.



There has also been widespread speculation about Lubitz's romantic life.

While one unconfirmed report has suggested his long-term girlfriend was pregnant, an ex-girlfriend has revealed that he vowed last year to do something memorable.

"One day I'm going to do something that will change the whole system and everyone will know my name and remember", she quoted him as saying.



An access road to the remote site has been dug by a bulldozer to provide all-terrain vehicles with access to the area and could be completed by Monday evening. An improved route will help investigators bring heavier recovery equipment to the scene.

French prosecutor Brice Robin has made recovery of the victims a priority. Between 400 and 600 body parts have already been located and are currently being examined.

“We haven’t found a single body intact,” said Patrick Touron, the deputy director of the police’s criminal research institute. Identification experts were using dental records, DNA samples from family members, fingerprints, jewellery and bits of ID card to help the process.


Families mourn their love ones / Reuters


Düsseldorf police have set up a task force of more than 100 officers to investigate the Germanwings crash. Forensic teams have identified 78 distinct DNA strands from body parts spread across the remote mountainside where flight 4U9525 crashed.

The black box was originally in a protective casing, but only the empty casing has been found.

Bad weather has halted helicopter flights to the site, forcing investigators to get there on foot.

A support centre for victims' families has been opened at a hotel in Marseille, from where Germanwings plans to provide counselling and visits to the crash site.

An official memorial service for those onboard flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf will be held on 17 April in Germany's most famous church - Cologne Cathedral - in the presence of President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel.




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