According to a German newspaper, a purported former girlfriend of Andreas Lubitz says the co-pilot vowed to “do something” to make people remember him. Investigators say Lubitz intentionally crashed a plane into the French Alps. VPC
A purported former girlfriend of the Germanwings co-pilot who authorities say brought down an airliner over the Alps told a German newspaper he once vowed to “do something” that would make people remember his name.
French and German investigators say Andreas Lubitz, 27, co-pilot for Germanwings Flight 9525, deliberately brought the plane down Tuesday by locking the pilot out of the cockpit, resetting the auto pilot and crashing the Airbus A320 into the French mountains, killing himself and another 149 people on board.
In a front-page story Saturday, the German newspaper Bild quoted a 26-year-old flight attendant and former girlfriend, identified only as “Maria W,” as saying Lubitz had nightmares and had once awakened at night screaming, “We’re going down!”
The prosecutor’s office in Düsseldorf, where Lubitz lived, said Friday that police had found a torn-up note in his apartment that declared him medically unfit to fly the plane on the day it crashed. Authorities said he had kept an illness, which was not specified, from his employer.
Bild said its reporter, John Puthenpurackal, verified Maria’s claim that they had been a longtime couple, flying together in Europe over a five-month period last year. The newspaper also said the reporter had seen photographs of the two together. Bild ran a photograph of “Maria” from behind so as not to not show her face.
Maria told Bild that when she heard about the crash, “one thing he told me kept running through my head. He said, ‘One day I will do something that will change the whole system, and then all will know my name and remember.'”
The claims could not immediately be verified independently.
Other German media reported Lubitz apparently suffered from depression. Citing internal documents forwarded by Lufthansa’s Aero Medical Center to German authorities, Bild reported Lubitz had suffered a “serious depressive episode” around the time he suspended his pilot training in 2009. It said he subsequently spent over a year in psychiatric treatment.
Officials have not speculated publicly on why Lubitz would have deliberately crashed the plane, which was en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. All signs are “pointing towards an act that we can’t describe: criminal, crazy, suicidal,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, France 24 reported.
According to Bild, Lubitz was being treated for massive vision problems. The newspaper said investigators are trying to determine whether the problem was physical or psychosomatic. In any case, the newspaper notes, such a condition would have jeopardized his job. The report on his eye condition was also carried by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
• Bild and the French TV Metropole 6 reported more details on the harrowing moments before the crash, saying the pilot, who had been locked out of the cockpit, tried to break down the door with an ax. M6, quoting sources close to the investigation, said the pilot can be heard shouting, “Andreas, open this door, open this door!” This information, gleaned from the recovered black box of cockpit recordings, is what led investigations early on to identify Lubitz as the lone occupant of the cockpit at the time of the crash.
• Investigators on Saturday identified Lubitz’s remains from evidence gathered at the site, Bild reported. Officials have said none of the victim’s bodies have been found intact.
• Lufthansa, the parent company of the low-budget airlines Germanwings, has offered to pay the families of the victims up to 50,000 euros, or about $55,000, to help offset immediate expenses, Deutsche Welle reported. The payment would be separate from the compensation the airline will have to pay because of the disaster.