Aviation & Space Law

Prosecutor: Co-pilot intentionally crashed plane into French Alps, killing 150

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The crash of a Germanwings flight in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people aboard, was no accident, a French prosecutor said at a Thursday news conference.

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, locked the pilot out of the cockpit when he left to use the restroom and intentionally put the the Airbus A320 into a descent that caused the crash, said Brice Robin, the Marseilles public prosecutor. As air traffic controllers tried without success to reach the cockpit and the captain pounded on the door trying to break it down, Lubitz said nothing. He could be heard on a voice recorder breathing normally, the Associated Press and the Guardian report.

Robin stopped short of calling the crash of the Barcelona to Duesseldorf an act of terrorism, and declined to give details about the background of Lubitz, who lived in Germany. However, Lubitz had never been flagged over terrorism concerns, the prosecutor said, noting that German authorities are now in charge of investigating his background.

He said he is considering changing his investigation from involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter, the New York Times (reg. req.) reported.

A spokesman for Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, told Reuters, “We have no information from the authorities that confirms this report, and we are seeking more information. We will not take part in speculation on the causes of the crash.”

Related coverage:

CNN: “‘Speechless’: Co-pilot deliberately crashed Germanwings plane, officials say”

The Telegraph: “Andreas Lubitz: First picture of Germanwings pilot and what we know about him”

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