• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'Candour needed on pilots' mental health': crash probe
A tribute to the victims of the March 24 Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village of Le Vernet, southeastern France. Photo: AFP

'Candour needed on pilots' mental health': crash probe

AFP · 13 Mar 2016, 13:11

Published: 13 Mar 2016 12:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Mar 2016 13:11 GMT+01:00

"Clearer rules are needed to establish when it is necessary to lift medical confidentiality," investigator Arnaud Desjardins said at the launch of the report.

The report found that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had been urged to attend psychiatric hospital just weeks before he crashed the plane in March last year, but his employer had not been informed.

The French probe into the crash of the plane deliberately flown into a mountain by the co-pilot also recommended more stringent medical checks for pilots in its conclusions published on Sunday.

BEA civil aviation investigators also agreed with their earlier findings that the crash in the French Alps a year ago with the loss of 150 lives was caused by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had been treated for depression.

As a result of the Germanwings crash a year ago -- in which 150 people travelling between Barcelona and Duesseldorf died -- European aviation authorities have already recommended making it compulsory to have two people in the cockpit at any time during flights.

Some countries are opposed to the measure, however, with Germany's pilots' union believing it poses "risks that outweigh any supposed improvements in security".

In the fateful flight on March 24th, 2015, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit. Ten minutes later the Airbus 320 ploughed into a mountain hillside, killing all 144 passengers and six crew.

It emerged that Lubitz had been suffering from depression and had seen dozens of doctors in the years preceding the crash.

But under German law none was able to alert his employers to his state of mind and he was allowed to continue flying.

On the black box voice recorder recovered at the crash scene, all that is heard from Lubitz is regular breathing. He gave no words of explanation for his murderous course of action.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has already recommended stepping up medical testing for pilots, including more psychological tests.

BEA chief Remi Jouty said the French investigation had sought to identify the "systematic failures which led to this accident". The investigators had also looked at the "balance between medical secrecy and flight security".

Story continues below…

The dead included 72 Germans, among them a group of 16 high school students, and 50 Spaniards.

A German lawyer for some of the families of the dead said this month they intended to sue the training school in Phoenix, Arizona, which Lubitz attended, claiming it should have flagged up his psychological problems.

"The co-pilot interrupted his training there for a while due to psychological problems," lawyer Christof Wellens said. "He shouldn't have been allowed to resume his training."

Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa has paid €50,000 ($56,000) per victim in an initial payment and offered an additional 25,000 euros to each of the families plus €10,000 to each immediate relative including parents, children and spouse.

Today's headlines
Who is to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
CGT union's workers block with burning tires the access to the refinery of Fos-sur-Mer, southeastern France. Photo: AFP

With petrol stations quickly running empty and the protests set to rumble on, who can be held responsible for the growing crisis?

Paris unveils first stretch of 'bicycle highway'
Photo: AFP

Could Paris be on the way to becoming the new Amsterdam for bikes?

French air traffic control unions call for June strikes
Photo: AFP

Air traffic controllers and thousands of other workers could be set for a three day strike at the beginning of June.

IMF urges France to deepen job reforms
Photo: AFP

The International Monetary Fund has warned France to go beyond its already hotly contested job market reforms.

Dordogne named among the 'best places in Europe'
Photo: Dale Musselman/Flickr

Travel company the Lonely Planet calls the Dordogne "France's foodiest region".

French fuel crisis: 'A quarter' of petrol stations run dry
Workers on strike block the access to the harbour of Saint-Nazaire, western France to protest against the government's planned labour law reforms. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Over 3,200 petrol stations are now reportedly empty or running dry.

French police 'raid Google's Paris offices in tax probe'
Photo: AFP

Around 100 French officials and police have raided Google's offices in Paris, reports say.

EgyptAir Flight MS804
EgyptAir: Human remains 'suggest explosion on board'
Photo: Egyptian Armed Forces

New findings, if confirmed, would support the theory that a bomb may have brought down the plane.

How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
How to avoid the fuel crisis in France. Photo: AFP

There are far worse places to be stuck with no fuel than rural France, but here's some official advice on how holidaymakers can avoid becoming stranded.

Special ops units to police Tour de France for first time
Photo: AFP

France is taking security at the Tour de France extremely seriously this year.

National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
National
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Culture
Foolproof ways to make French friends in France
National
Seventeen French ex-ministers vow to shine light on sex harassment
Lifestyle
French Riviera mega-mansion faces being bulldozed
Culture
Eight ways the French are different to Parisians
2,735
jobs available