BERLIN – Lufthansa airline did not inform German air traffic authorities about the psychiatric problems being experienced by Andreas Lübitz, the co-pilot who deliberately crashed a Germanwings Airbus jet in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.
The Sunday edition of the daily Die Welt based its reporting on air traffic officials’ remarks and documents found in the home of the co-pilot, who in 2009 resumed his Lufthansa flight school training after apparently overcoming an episode of severe depression.
“Luftfahrtbundesamt had not been informed that L. (Lübitz) needs treatment,” the German Federal Aviation Office, or LBA, said in a statement, quoted by Welt am Sonntag.
According to the German newspaper, the LBA obtained access for the first time to medical reports from the Lufthansa Aeromedical Center on March 27, three days after the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, which had been en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, Germany.
The paper noted that Lufthansa, of which Germanwings is an affiliate, is obliged to report serious medical conditions being suffered by its personnel, including depression, according to a regulation implemented in 2013.
The airline commented on the revelations in a brief communique in which it said that it adhered to its obligations to inform the LBA and refused to discuss details about the Lübitz case since it is being investigated by the prosecutor’s office.
Since 2009, when Lübitz resumed his flight training after undergoing treatment for depression for several months, the co-pilot passed six medical and psychological reviews, in which the airline certified him to be fit to fly.
The Düsseldorf prosecutor’s office, which is investigating the case, revealed that Lübitz – before obtaining his pilot’s license – underwent treatment for “suicidal tendencies.”
Authorities who searched Lübitz’s home and computer found that he was in treatment for depression, had been issued a medical notice not to report to work due to his condition on the day of the crash and had been doing online research using the name “Skydevil” on ways to commit suicide up until the day before the crash.
Lübitz took advantage of the fact that the chief pilot left the controls to use the lavatory to lock the armored cockpit door and set the autopilot to cause the plane to descend until it hit the ground.