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Germanwings co-pilot intentionally crashed plane, investigator says

Updated 1:20 p.m. EDT | New information is emerging on the co-pilot who reportedly downed Germanwings flight 9525 on purpose. Reporters covering the crash investigation are interviewing friends of Andreas Lubitz and checking the 28-year-old German’s media accounts.

Matthias Gebauer, a reporter from the German news organization Der Spiegel, tweeted that friends of Lubitz said he had “burnout syndrome” in 2009 and had to take time out from his pilot training.

According to reports, Lubitz completed his pilot training and passed all medical and flight tests in 2013.

“We have no indication what could have led the co-pilot to commit this terrible act,” Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

After reviewing Lubitz’s Facebook page, which has been reportedly deleted, The Guardian’s Luke Harding reported that the pilot was interested in flying and gadgets, electronic music, discos and ten-pin bowling.

Original report from 9:59 a.m. EDT | The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that smashed into the French Alps Tuesday deliberately crashed the plane, a French prosecutor said in a press conference Thursday.

Marseille public prosecutor Brice Robin said that the 28-year-old co-pilot, whom he identified as German citizen Andreas Lubitz, had locked the pilot out of the cockpit after he had left to use the bathroom, and pressed a button that triggered the plane to descend. “The intention was to destroy this plane,” Robin said. He reiterated that there is no indication of terrorism.

Debris from the Airbus A320 that crashed into a mountainside in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. Eerie detail from the final minutes of the flight were released today by French investigators. Photo by Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Debris from the Airbus A320 that crashed into a mountainside in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. Eerie detail from the final minutes of the flight were released today by French investigators. Photo by Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

The Airbus A-320 was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members when it went down. There were no survivors.

The Guardian reporter Kim Willsher, who is in Paris, wrote of the disturbing details that emerged from Robin’s press conference:

Robin said the co-pilot could be heard breathing right up until the point of impact, suggesting he had not lost consciousness. However, he failed to respond to increasingly desperate calls from the commander trying to break down the cockpit door, or to air traffic controllers.

A black box voice recorder from the German Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget Airbus A320 crash is seen in this photo released March 25, 2015 by the BEA, France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (Air Accident Investigator). Photo by BEA/Handout via Reuters

The black box voice recorder from the German Airbus operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings. Photo by Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses/Handout via Reuters

The Guardian is following the story in a live blog.

The passenger jet was flying from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, before it crashed in the mountainous region of southern France.

Germanwings is a budget airline owned by Lufthansa, which is Germany’s biggest airline.

Robin, a high profile French investigator, is leading the investigation.

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