Germanwings pilot’s chilling prophesy

2015-03-29 15:00

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Andreas Lubitz was a man with a dark side. More than once, he woke in the middle of the night, screaming “we’re going down!”

But when, on Tuesday, he finally crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525 in the French Alps, he did not scream. All 150 people on board were killed. In fact, Andreas was breathing calmly while his captain was shouting in the background and trying to break the door down.

Not once in the eight minutes while the Airbus A320 slowly but surely lost altitude did he utter a single word. And only in the last moments can one hear on the flight recorder how passengers screamed in the background.

Over the past few days, it has been revealed that Lubitz (27) had probably planned the murder-suicide.

His former girlfriend told German newspaper Bild how Lubitz told her last year that he would one day do something that “will change the whole system”, and that everyone would then know and remember his name.

The 26-year-old, who asked no to be named, said Lubitz’s personal problems and unpredictable behaviour led to her recently breaking off their relationship. She and Lubitz shared a luxury flat on the outskirts of Dusseldorf. Lubitz apparently also spent a lot of time at his parents’ home in a middle class neighbourhood in Montabaur, 130km south of Dusseldorf. His father was a successful businessman, his mother a piano teacher. He also had a brother.

German investigators who searched the flat and house found torn-up medical certificates – at least one of which recommended that Lubitz was unfit to fly on Tuesday.

Some of his friends have told the media that Lubitz, a fitness fanatic, suffered from depression. In 2009, his pilot training was interrupted so he could receive treatment for an unspecified illness. He resumed his training six months later. The Dusseldorf University hospital also confirmed he had been treated there during the past two months, including on March 10. They declined to give details of the treatment.

A Germanwings spokesperson said Lubitz had not told the airline about any health issues.

One of the first rescue workers on the scene, Jean Sebastien Beaud of France, said he knew within seconds that no one had survived.

“What I saw was unreal, unimaginable. The smell of burnt metal and fuel was overwhelming. There was a lot of debris. We saw the first human remains and immediately knew there were no survivors.

“We found fewer than 10 bodies that were still partially whole. In fact, only one body was still whole,” Beaud said.

By Friday afternoon, they had collected between 400 and 600 body parts that will be identified by DNA tests.

Rescue workers found the aircraft’s first flight recorder – the black box – quickly, but the second, which holds the technical flight data, is still missing.

The orange box in which it was housed has already been found, so it is possible that the recorder was completely destroyed in the crash.

Meanwhile, several airlines worldwide have already amended their regulations to require that two people stay in the cockpit at all times. Lufthansa, Norwegian Air, Emirates, Air Berlin, WestJet and Air Canada were the first to do so.

In South Africa, Comair, the holding company of British Airways, and Kulula, Virgin Atlantic and Safair have all indicated they are already reconsidering their regulations and will amend them.

The Civil Aviation Authority and SAA, however, said this was premature.

SAA said it would only re-evaluate the protocols “if it becomes necessary”.

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