Authorities Say Germanwings Co-Pilot Was Treated for ‘Suicidal Tendencies’

Investigators from Germany, France and beyond are facing the task of determining what motivated Mr. Lubitz. (Credit: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Investigators from Germany, France and beyond are facing the task of determining what motivated Mr. Lubitz. (Credit: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

The co-pilot of the Germanwings jetliner that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday had been treated for “suicidal tendencies” before receiving his pilot’s license, the office of the public prosecutor in Düsseldorf said Monday.

The co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had been treated by psychotherapists “over a long period of time,” the prosecutor’s office said, without providing specific dates. In follow-up visits to doctors since that time, the prosecutor said, “no signs of suicidal tendencies or aggression toward others were documented.”

Mr. Lubitz’s medical records show no physical illnesses, the prosecutor said, an apparent reference to vision problems that Mr. Lubitz had been experiencing, which officials said may have been psychosomatic in nature.

Mr. Lubitz, 27, was at the controls of a Germanwings Airbus A320 jetliner on Tuesday, en route from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, when he apparently set it on a course to crash into the mountains in southeastern France, a French prosecutor has said. Voice recordings from the flight indicate that Mr. Lubitz was alone in the cockpit and refused to allow the captain to re-enter as the plane crashed, killing all 150 people on board.

It is not clear what, if anything, Germanwings and its parent company, Lufthansa, knew about Mr. Lubitz’s condition during his training and after he started flying for them. Spokesmen for the airlines said the companies were aware of the prosecutor’s findings but had no comment.

On Thursday, Carsten Spohr, the chief executive of Lufthansa, said at a news conference that Mr. Lubitz had passed the company’s health checks with “flying colors” and “was 100 percent flightworthy, without any limitations.”

Prosecutors have questioned many of Mr. Lubitz’s friends and colleagues, but have thus far found no indication of a suicide note or a clear motive behind the crash. “In particular there continues to be no verifiable warning of such an act nor has any claim of responsibility been found,” the Düsseldorf prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Investigators had found no one close to him, whether personally or professionally, who was able to name “any special situation that could serve as a viable indication of a possible motive,” the statement said.

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SOURCE: NICHOLAS KULISH and MELISSA EDDY
The New York Times

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