Tags: France | Germany | Spain | aviation | accident

Crash Co-Pilot Had Vision Problems, Depression

Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:58 PM EDT

The Germanwings co-pilot believed to have intentionally crashed a jet into the French Alps was suffering from a psychosomatic illness, said a person close to the probe.

Andreas Lubitz was being treated by several neurologists and psychiatrists for his sickness, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing details of the investigation.

Police have started questioning those close to the first officer on the flight to try and understand what may have caused him to deliberately steer the plane into a mountainside, Ralf Herrenbrueck, spokesman for the Dusseldorf prosecutors office handling the case, said by phone Saturday.

Investigators are focusing on the 27-year-old’s mental health after they found a doctor’s note among torn-up medical documents certifying him unfit for work on the day of the crash. Authorities said he hadn’t told Germanwings about his medical condition.

Lubitz sought treatment for vision problems that may have put an end to his career as a pilot, New York Times reported, citing two officials with knowledge of the investigation. One of the people said authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility the sight problem may have been psychosomatic. Neither police nor prosecutors could be reached by Bloomberg for comment on the report.

Psychosomatic disorders are physical diseases that are thought to have mental reasons such as stress and anxiety.

Initial Findings

Prosecutors believe, based on their initial findings from the cockpit voice recorder, that Lubitz was alone in the cockpit and barred the captain from re-entering as he flew the Airbus A320 into the mountainside, killing himself and 149 passengers and crew. It’s the worst air disaster for Germanwings parent Deutsche Lufthansa AG since the carrier’s refounding in 1955.

The victims were remembered Saturday at a ceremony near the crash site. People gathered at the cathedral in Digne-Les-Bains to pay their respects to those lost when the flight crashed Tuesday en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Mourners also gathered in Le Vernet.

Not far from the cathedral, searchers scoured the debris for the flight data recorder -- important because it tracks changes made by the crew to the controls and could help confirm the voice recorder findings.

Lubitz’s parents have left France and will be questioned by authorities when they arrive back in Germany, according to French TV channel i-Tele. They didn’t speak to French investigators, the channel reported. Germanwings declined to comment on his parents.

Sympathy Ads

No suicide note was found Thursday when police searched Lubitz’s Dusseldorf apartment and his parents’ house about 140 kilometers (87 miles) away in Montabaur, according to prosecutors, who said there was no evidence of a political or religious motive for his actions.

Germanwings and Lufthansa ran full-page advertisements in the largest German newspapers today, mourning the 150 deceased, expressing their condolences to relatives and friends of those who died, and thanking people who are counseling dependents, helping retrieve bodies and uncovering evidence.

Lufthansa is providing special flights to the crash site for the victims’ families and offering to support them financially. The airline is giving as much as 50,000 euros ($54,500) per crash victim for families to cover immediate expenses, Germanwings said Saturday. Families don’t have to repay that money, and the payments won’t affect additional claims that they may have, the airline said.

Germany is planning a memorial service for those killed in the crash on April 17 at the Cologne Cathedral. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck will be among those attending, Heidi Renz, spokeswoman at North Rhine-Westphalia state chancellery, said by phone.


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The co-pilot who investigators believe crashed a passenger jet intothe French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, worried health problems would dash his dreams and vowed one day to do something to change the wholesystem , an ex-girlfriend told a German newspaper.The...
France, Germany, Spain, aviation, accident
Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:58 PM
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