By Mary Foran
The final resting place for 150 people, 144 passengers and 6 crew members, on a routine flight from Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf, Germany became the rough and beautiful terrain of the French Alps.
Unless the second black box, which is still to be found at this writing, gives evidence to the contrary, officials think that it was a suicide-murder by the 27 year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. Apparently, the Captain of the Germanwings Flight 9525, Patrick Sonderheimer, had been locked out of the cockpit while the co-pilot reset the controls for a rapid descent to directly hit the mountains, killing everyone on board. Spaniards, Germans and even three Americans, lost their lives in the mishap.
Authorities had recovered one of the data-recording “black boxes” which reconstructed the scene from the flight’s final minutes and they were able to hear the Captain pounding on the door of the cockpit to get back in. They determined that the co-pilot ignored communications from ground control and actually voluntarily set the plane to descend straight into the mountainside.
The authorities’ conclusions came as a shock to those who thought they knew the co-pilot who, at first, seemed to have no unusual history of depression or terrorist ties. Latest discoveries, however, show that he might have wanted to hide some “illness” from Germanwings that might jeopardize his pilot’s career and had allegedly vowed to his ex-girlfriend that “everyone will know my name.”
The prosecutors have announced that two sick notes have been found torn at Luwitz’s flat in Germany.
The worldwide coverage of this tragic event brought speculation on how such a disaster could be prevented in the future. Actually, in the United States airlines will be developing procedures, for the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will require that when one of the pilots exits the cockpit for whatever reason, another qualified crew member must lock the door and remain on the flight deck until the pilot returns. Europeans now plan to adopt a similar “rule of two.” Moreover, more psychological testing of pilots are being called for in the U.S. and in other nations.
The families of the victims were all extended heartfelt sympathy and condolences in the media and in government circles.
Shock and empathy were the watchwords of the week.
>Featured image: Seyne les Alps by Jean-Claude Gabillet
CC BY-SA 3.0
>Rescuers: La Moncloa press pool
>Germanwings Flight 9525 by Sebastien Mortier
CC BY-SA 2.0
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