PARIS – New details emerge from the investigation into the Germanwings plane crash that killed 150 passengers.
An investigator reveals that initial evidence shows one of the pilots of the fated Germanwings flight left the cockpit for unknown reasons. When the pilot returned to enter the cockpit, he could not gain entry. All of this happened before the plane started its mysterious 8 minute descent.
Post 9/11, the design of modern planes includes a cockpit door that cannot be accessed from outside the cockpit.
According to the BBC’s interview of investigators, the co-pilot ‘wanted to destroy the plane’. The co-pilot was alone in the cockpit and pressed a very specific set of buttons to set this plane’s descent.
The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday appeared to want to “destroy the plane”, French officials said.
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the “black box” voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit.
He intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out.
Mr Robin said there was “absolute silence in the cockpit” as the pilot fought to re-enter it.
The co-pilot, now named as Andreas Lubitz, 28, was alive until the final impact, the prosecutors added.
As the plane’s main pilot struggled to get back into the cockpit, Lubitz could be heard ‘breathing calmly’ as the plane glided into a fiery crash that killed all 150 passengers.
Before the crash, review of the plane’s black box showed a ‘very smooth, very cool’ conversation between the pilots. All seemed routine on the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany. One of the pilots then exited the cockpit for unknown reasons. There is no indication of struggle or that someone forced their way into the cockpit when this event took place, though there is also no indication that some other person did not gain access to the cockpit at this point.
What is known is that one pilot did leave the cockpit and one trained pilot approved for this flight remained in command at this point.
After some time, the pilot returned and could be heard knocking on the door, gently, and without a clear sign of panic. The pilot could not re-enter the cockpit and there was no answer to his knocks. For some reason, the other pilot may have been unable to answer or actively chose not to answer. It is unknown why the pilot’s knocks to the compartment went unanswered.
A chief investigator said of the recording:
“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.”
He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
At some point, the pilot’s light knocks turned into trying to smash the door down. It remains a mystery as to why a pilot left the cockpit in the first place. It remains unknown as to if anyone else had an opportunity to get into the cockpit. It is unknown why the second pilot did not answer the door or anticipate the return of the other pilot. And it remains unknown why the other pilot could not gain access to the plane’s cockpit before its fatal descent and crash.
The result of the events above is that the twin-engine Airbus A320 fell from 38,000 feet in the sky over a time frame of 8 minutes. This time frame indicates the plane was not damaged or immediately destroyed in the sky, giving more questions into why it entered its mysterious descent at all.
The plane never signaled for emergency or attempted communication with air traffic control.