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"Serious Depressive Episode" May Have Driven Germanwings Pilot To "Criminal, Mad, Suicidal" Action, Prosecutors Allege

Andreas Lubitz, the 28-year-old co-pilot who murder-suicided a plane full of 150 people into the Alps, had been judged to have suffered a "serious depressive episode" around the time he suspended his training in 2009, according to internal documents cited by Germany's Bild. As Reuters reports, Lubitz had broken off his training in 2009 and reportedly spent a year in psychiatric treatment but as the Lufthansa CEO noted, "After he was cleared again, he resumed training. He passed all the subsequent tests and checks with flying colors. His flying abilities were flawless." French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged patience during the investigation but stated, "everything points to a criminal, mad, suicidal action that we cannot comprehend."

 

 

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Germanwings co-pilot who appeared to intentionally crash an airliner into a French mountainside this week, killing himself and 149 passengers and crew, received a note from a doctor excusing him from work but apparently tore it up, a German prosecutor said Friday.

The prosecutor said evidence collected in a search of Andreas Lubitz’ Düsseldorf apartment on Thursday afternoon did not include a suicide note and gave no indication of a political or religious motive for his apparent decision to crash the plane.

 

“However documents were confiscated that contained medical information indicating an existing medical treatment,” the Düsseldorf prosecutor said in a statement.

 

...

 

“Doctor’s notes that were found that were current and for the day of the incident support the assumption, based on a preliminary evaluation, that the deceased concealed his illness from his employer and work environment,” the prosecutor said in the statement.

 

Earlier, Germany’s Federal Aviation Office said that Mr. Lubitz had a medical condition noted in his pilot’s medical certificate, but the spokesman couldn’t say whether the record was related to his mental or physical health because the information was confidential.

And as Reuters adds, Lubitz broke off his training six years ago due to depression and spent over a year in psychiatric treatment, a German newspaper reported on Friday.

Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr acknowledged at a news conference on Thursday that Lubitz had broken off his training in 2009 but did not explain why. He said there was nothing in the pilot's background to suggest he was a risk.

 

"After he was cleared again, he resumed training. He passed all the subsequent tests and checks with flying colors. His flying abilities were flawless," Spohr said.

 

But Bild, citing internal documents forwarded by Lufthansa's Aeromedical Center to German authorities, reported that Lubitz had suffered from depression and anxiety, and had been judged to have suffered a "serious depressive episode" around the time he suspended his training.

 

Lufthansa and German prosecutors declined to comment on the report, which is likely to raise questions about the airline's screening procedures for its pilots and, if confirmed, could expose it to substantial liabilities in the crash.

Friends are stunned....

“He was a quiet person…not someone who tried to be the center of attention,” the club’s Mr. Rücker said.

 

Jörg Kämpflein—a flight club board member who has been with the club since 1993—said he was “surprised, astonished” by the allegations surrounding Mr. Lubitz. These, he said, “in no way” fitted his personality. Klaus Radke, president of the club, said Mr. Lubitz had renewed his pilot’s license to fly alone when he last visited.

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Because nothing fixes despression and anxiety like smashing a plane into a mountain at 500mph.