Even as invgestigators are still groping in the dark about what exactly caused the crash of Germanwings flight in the high peaks of Alps killing all the 150 persons aboard, the latest revelations that the co-pilot was suffering from depression has added credential to the theory that the crash was deliberately executed by him in an attempt to commit suicide.
Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was hiding an illness from his employers and had been declared “unfit to work” by a doctor, according to German authorities investigating what could have prompted the seemingly competent and stable pilot to steer his jetliner into the French Alps. Airplanes don’t easily fall from the sky, especially not when they are in the longest, least-stressful phase of flight known as “cruise” at an altitudes above 30,000 fleet. Yet that’s what happened on 24th March 2014 in the case of the ill-fated Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, an Airbus A320.
French air investigators examining a black box cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from the debris of the said they were puzzled as to why the crew did not send out a mayday or distress signal as flight U49525 rapidly lost altitude for eight minutes, or why the pilot did not change course to avoid smashing into a rocky ravine at around 430mph (700kmh). The plane had taken off from Barcelona at 10.01am local time. It was just under halfway through its journey to Düsseldorf, where it had been expected to land at 11.55am, when it began to lose altitude.
The co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, a 28-yearold German, had taken control of the plane and locked the pilot out of the plane’s cockpit after he Germanwings crash, shocking revelations momentarily stepped outside. Voice recordings revealed that the pilot then made increasingly frantic attempts to get back into the cockpit during the plane’s descent. The desperate cries of the passengers, who had become aware of the danger, could be heard in the final moments before the plane came down. Though the co-pilot said nothing during the plane’s final moments his breathing— described as “normal” —could be heard until the end, indicating that he was well aware of what he was doing, according to investigators who examined the black box.
However the incident has once again raised crucial questions about aviation safety as evident from reports that Airlines are changing procedures to ensure that two crew are in the cockpit at all times following the Germanwings tragedy that killed 150 people. Now budget carrier EasyJet has announced the move will come into force soon and aviation insiders say there are moves to make it ‘mandatory’ across airlines.
Meanwhile, the European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a temporary recommendation that cockpits always be staffed by at least two crew members. Lufthansa and other German airlines have already adopted the rule, the airline said. An official with the German Aviation Association told CNN that it was only a matter of hours, or a day at most, for this rule to be implemented across all big German airlines•