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Second Black Box Indicates Germanwings Crash Was Deliberate

  • RFE/RL

Andreas Lubitz in a 2009 photo

Andreas Lubitz in a 2009 photo

Aviation investigators in France say a second black box recovered from wreckage of a Germanwings jet that crashed in the Alps adds to evidence that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, killing all 150 people on board.

Investigators from France's BEA aviation bureau said in a statement that data recovered from the second black box shows Lubitz deliberately used the automatic pilot setting to send the airplane into a descent to an altitude of 100 feet, and to increase its speed as it descended.

German investigators this week said information on a computer found at Lubitz's Duesseldorf apartment suggested the 27-year-old had researched suicide methods and cockpit-door security.

Forensic analysts believe Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit during the March 24 flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and deliberately plunged the plane into a French mountainside.

Investigators also found torn-up notes from doctors excusing Lubitz from work, including one that would have kept him off work on the day of the crash.

Earlier this week, Lufthansa -- Germanwings' parent company -- said it knew six years ago that Lubitz had suffered from an episode of "severe depression" before he finished his flight training.

The German newspaper Bild reported on April 2 that Lubitz had allegedly lied to doctors, telling them he was on sick leave rather than flying commercial planes.

Lufthansa has come under pressure to explain what it knew about the co-pilot's history of depression and could face substantial claims for damages, according to legal experts.

Prosecutors in France, meanwhile, say investigators have found 150 DNA profiles -- matching the number of people aboard the plane -- but that it will take time to match them with DNA samples provided by victims' families.

With reporting by Reuters and TASS
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