Germanwings Co-Pilot Hid Medical Condition that Would Have Banned Him From Flying

Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in Hamburg in this September 13, 2009 file photo. (Reuters/Foto-Team-Mueller)
Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in Hamburg in this September 13, 2009 file photo. (Reuters/Foto-Team-Mueller)

The pilot who crashed a plane in the French Alps had received a sick note from doctors showing he suffered a health condition that would have prevented him flying the day of the crash, which he apparently hid from his employer, German prosecutors said.

French prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus A320 on Tuesday and deliberately steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

“Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors,” said the prosecutors’ office in Duesseldorf, where the co-pilot lived and where the doomed flight from Barcelona was heading.

“The fact there are sick notes saying he was unable to work, among other things, that were found torn up, which were recent and even from the day of the crime, support the assumption based on the preliminary examination that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional colleagues,” the German prosecutors said.

The documents were found in searches of Lubitz’s homes in Duesseldorf and in the town of Montabaur in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Reports in German media suggested that Lubitz had suffered from depression in the past, and that his employer would have been aware of his history.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Friday that Lubitz had suffered from depression during a period when he broke off his training six years ago. It said he spent over a year in psychiatric treatment.

Lufthansa, parent company of Germanwings, has acknowledged that Lubitz had broken off his training in 2009 but says there was nothing in the pilot’s background to suggest he was a risk.

SOURCE: Reuters

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