• France's news in English

Crash co-pilot told ex 'all will know my name'

AFP · 28 Mar 2015, 11:37

Published: 28 Mar 2015 11:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In an interview, the 26-year-old flight attendant known as Maria W told Bild that when she heard about the crash she recalled Andreas Lubitz telling her last year: "One day I'm going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember."

The black-box voice recorder indicates that Lubitz, 27, locked his captain out of the cockpit on Tuesday and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside, French officials say, in what appears to have been a case of suicide and mass killing.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that all the signs were "pointing towards an act that we can't describe: criminal, crazy, suicidal".

German prosecutors revealed that searches of Lubitz's homes netted "medical documents that suggest an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment", including "torn-up and current sick leave notes, among them one covering the day of the crash".

They did not specify the illness.

According to Bild, the young woman, who was "very shocked", flew with Lubitz on European flights for five months last year, during which time they are believed to have been romantically involved.

If Lubitz did deliberately crash the plane, "it is because he understood that because of his health problems, his big dream of a job at Lufthansa, as captain and as a long-haul pilot was practically impossible", she told Bild.

The pair separated "because it became increasingly clear that he had a problem", she told the daily, adding that at night he would wake up and scream "we're going down" and was plagued by nightmares.

Bild earlier reported that Lubitz sought psychiatric help for "a bout of serious depression" in 2009 and was still getting assistance from doctors, quoting documents from Germany's air transport regulator.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said that Lubitz had suspended his pilot training, which began in 2008, "for a certain period", before restarting and qualifying for the Airbus A320 in 2013.

Half of the 150 victims of Tuesday's disaster were German, with Spain accounting for at least 50 and the remainder composed of more than a dozen other nationalities.

Germanwings said Friday it had offered the victims' families "up to 50,000 euros ($54,800) per passenger" towards their immediate costs.

The assistance, which the families would not be required to pay back, was separate from the compensation that the airline will likely have to pay over the disaster, a Germanwings spokesman told AFP.

A religious ceremony will take place Saturday morning at 10.30am (09:30 GMT) in the nearby town of Digne-les-Bains, police said.

In the northwestern town of Haltern, which lost 16 students and two teachers on the flight, news that the co-pilot had apparently acted deliberately caused shock and anger.

German President Joachim Gauck, a Protestant pastor, attended a memorial service in the town Friday.

Meanwhile in Montabaur, Mayor Edmund Schaaf urged reporters camped out in the community to show restraint towards Lubitz's parents, a banker and a church organist who live on a leafy, normally quiet street.

Story continues below…

"Regardless of whether the accusations against the co-pilot are true, we sympathise with his family and ask the media to be considerate," he said.

Investigators say Lubitz's intention was clear because he operated a button sending the plane into a plunge.

For the next eight minutes, Lubitz was apparently calm and breathing normally.

The second-in-command had passed all psychological tests required for training, Lufthansa's Spohr told reporters on Thursday.

Recovery operations at the remote crash site were still ongoing, with French officials continuing to comb the mountain for body parts and evidence.

The plane's second black box, which records flight data, has not yet been recovered.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available