Germanwings Pilot Locked out of Cockpit Before Crash in France


Germanwings is one of the most successful low-cost airlines in Europe.

Officials have been struggling this week to explain why a Germanwings jet with 150 people on board crashed on a clear day into the French Alps. Now, a French investigator said there is evidence from a cockpit voice recorder that one pilot left the cockpit and could not re-enter. The pilot can be heard pounding on the door to no answer and then you can hear him trying to smash the door down.

The latest news only deepens the mystery surrounding the crash. The descent from 38,000 feet over about 10 minutes was alarming but still gradual enough that the Airbus A320 had not been damaged catastrophically. The plane crashed into the craggy mountains northwest of Nice and was traveling with enough speed that it all but pulverized and killed all 144 passengers and crew of six with few clues.

Documents now show that Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who is believed to have deliberately crashed the jet had a medical condition that he hid from his employer. The German investigators said they had not found a suicide note or “any indication of a political or religious” nature among the documents from Mr. Lubitz’s apartment.

The crash claimed victims from more than a dozen countries including Germany, Spain and the United States. Police officers and rescue workers on Friday are continuing to search the site of the crash for victims’ remains along with other clues to help them identify those who died. Among those who died were 16 high school students and two teachers. There was a memorial held for them in Haltern am See that President Joachim Gauck of Germany attended.

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