On 24 March, 2015 the Germanwings Flight 9525 en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf took a fated plunge from a clear sky and shattered effortlessly into countless fragments in the French Alps. The crash claimed the lives of all 144 passengers and 6 crew members. At the very moment of the crash there were no clear, immediate explanations, but now the cause of the crash does not seem so ambiguous with the discovery of the plane’s cockpit voice recorder.
The last message sent from the plane to the air traffic coordinators had stated that the flight was smooth and on course. However, only minutes later the plane began to descend without any indicators of emergency or distress. Such a lack of communication from the pilot raised questions of whether the crash was deliberate—a possibility that, sadly, holds high chances of being true.
The cockpit voice recorder recorded the last conversations of the two pilots. From hearing the initial two hours of the audio recording, none would suspect of the following event: after a little exchange, the commanding pilot left the cockpit and found that he could not re-enter. He initially knocked lightly on the door, then hit the door a little stronger, then resorted to hard pounding when he received no answer from within; he allegedly even attempted to smash the door down. There was a chance that he could have used a fail-safe code to open the door, but the question of whether he had tried to do so remains unanswered.
So, if the pilot wasn’t in the cockpit, who was? Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot. Mr. Lubtiz’s final breathing sounds were recorded as the the plane took on its final descent and slammed into the mountainside. The commotion caused by the pilot locked outside leaves suspicions that Mr. Lubtiz had deliberately “refused to open the door of the cockpit to the commander, and activated the button that commands the loss of altitude.” (NY Times)
The assumption that this mass murder, or perhaps even act of terror, may have been on purpose surprised many, for it was long believed Mr. Lubtiz “loved to fly” since he was 14 years old and was a “gliding enthusiast and former flight attendant” who was “unassuming and funny.” Even Frank Woiton, another pilot for the Germanwings airline stated “he was not someone who said, ‘I want to end my life.’” (NY Times)
However, what the investigators found when they delved deep into both Mr. Lubtiz’s professional and personal life states otherwise. It was declared that he had a fragile mental state and an eyesight problem that may have hindered his ability to fly. To support this, several doctors notes and medication prescribed for depression and psychological problems were found.
As of right now, nothing is yet certain. Why did the commanding pilot leave the cockpit in the first place? Was the crash impulsive or planned out? What happened to all the victims’ bodies? There are still approximately 72 people unaccounted for. No matter the case, the Blueprint sends its condolences to the families of the victims of this regrettable tragedy.
– Emily Kim (’16)
Header: ABC News