Germanwings Crash: Andreas Lubitz Suicide was a Mere Side Effect to the Murder of 149 People

On the morning of March 24, 2015 Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 departed from Barcelona, Spain 20 minutes behind schedule. Pilot Patrick Sondenheimer apologized for the delay, telling passengers they would try to make up the time in the air. Unfortunately, the plane never made it to its destination of Düsseldorf. Instead, when suicidal co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz took his life that day, he took the lives of 149 innocent passengers and crew with him. In a pre-meditated aircraft-assisted suicide, Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and flew the Airbus 320 into the French Alps near Seyne-les-Alpes. Due to the discovery of a voice recorder from the plane, the one and a half hours leading to the fatal crash were caught on tape, revealing to the world the chaos and horror that ensued in the minutes leading to the deaths of everyone aboard. Before take-off, pilot Patrick Sondenheimer mentioned to Andreas Lubitz that he hadn’t had time to use the restroom in Barcelona to which Lubitz replies he can “go anytime”. For the first 20 minutes of the flight, the tone of the conversation between pilot Sondenheimer and co-pilot Lubitz is described as “jovial”. At 10:27am, local time, they reach their cruising altitude of 38,000 feet and Captain Sondenheimer asked Andreas Lubitz to prepare for landing. After this, Lubitz repeats to the pilot, “You can go now.”, a seat moving is then heard on the tape and the pilot responds to his co-pilot with, “You can take over.”. Shortly after this, at 10:29am the air traffic radar detects the plane is beginning to descend. Air traffic control contacted Flight 9525 at 10:32am but received no answer. At this point, an alarm goes off in the cockpit which can be heard in the background warning “sink rate”. Immediately after the alarm sounds, loud banging can he heard on the door of the cockpit. It is Captain Sondenheimer, who then screams, “For God’s sake, open the door!” as passengers also begin to scream for their lives in the background. By 10:35am a metallic banging is heard which is the pilot attempting to break down the door to the cockpit with an axe. At this time, the plane had descended to 23,000 feet, only 90 seconds later, the plane is at 16,400 feet and a second alarm sounds in the cock pit warning, “terrain–pull up!”. The captain screams at Lubitz again commanding him to, “Open the dammed door!”. By 10:38am the co-pilot in the cockpit can be heard breathing steadily, from this we know he was alive and conscious throughout the entire ordeal. The plane had descended to 13,100 feet at this point and at 10:40am, with passengers still screaming, the plane’s right wing is heard scrapping the top of the French Alps just before the tape cuts off and the plane crashes into the mountain, presumably killing all onboard at impact. Since the crash, it has been discovered tha 27 year old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had suffered a history of severe depression and had sought help from at least three different doctors regarding his psychological illness between Feburary 2015 and the March 24th Germanwings crash. An iPad seized from Lubitz’s apartment revealed he had searched the Internet for information on how to commit suicide and security measures for cockpit doors in the days leading up to the crash. In his garbage, investigators found multiple physicians’ notes excusing him from work including one for the day of the fatal aircraft crash. His 26 year old girlfriend, Kathrin Goldbach, who was aware of his psychological illness and history or depression claims she, “did not know the extent of the problems” and was “optomistic” about their ability to work through them in their relationship. Goldbach, who met her late boyfriend as a teenager when they worked together at a fast food chain is now afraid to return to her and Lubitz’s hometown of Montabaur. Goldbach is afraid of the backlash she may face there due to Andreas Lubitz’s responsibility in the death of 149 innocent people on Germanwings Flight 9525. According to her pupils, Kathrun Goldbach had recently informed them she is pregnant (presumably with Andreas Lubitz’s child) though she has understandably not mentioned this to the media. It was also revealed Lubitz may have been suffering from a condition which would have eventually led to blindness and that it may have played a key role in his decision to end his life. He had recently visited specialists regarding his failing eyesight which obviously would have caused him to be stripped of his pilot’s license. Due to German law, doctors are forbidden from revealing patient information to employers therefore, the decision to inform Germanwings of a history of depression was entirely Lubitz’s decision. According to the flight school Andreas Lubitz attended, he did make note of a period of severe depression he had experienced. He began flight school in 2008 and joined the Germanwings company in 2013 as a first officer. However, 6 years ago his training was interrupted for unspecified reasons, presumably psychological illness. Lubitz had received over 630 hours of flying time and Germanwings claims he had undergone an “extensive psychological review”. In other reports however, Germanwings has asserted their pilots psychological testing is NOT carried out by professionals in the field of psychology, but instead general practitioners during the pilot’s yearly medical assessment and aviation review. Following the crash, Germanwings spoke out on Twitter saying, “We are shocked by the statements from French authorities that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the aircraft.”. The CEO of Lufthanasa, the company that owns Germanwings later remarked, “We have to accept that the plane was crashed on purpose… It seems true that the co-pilot denied the pilot access to the cockpit.”. Lufthansa has set aside 203 million pounds to “deal with” the crash and victims’ families. Germanwings has instructed pilots to now greet each passenger during boarding and give a pre-flight speech assuring their safety in an effort to make up for their lack of concern regarding the mental state of their employees. Brice Robin, French prosecutor assigned to the criminal investigation of the Germanwings crash stated Lubitz’s intent was to “destroy the plane” and that, “If a human takes 149 people to death with him, I will not call that suicide.”. France’s B.E.A. or The French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau (Bureau d’Enquêtes sur les Accidents de Transport Terrestre) found from analyzing data on the flight recorder that Lubitz used autopilot to descend the plane and, “several times during the course of the descent, the pilot [Andreas Lubitz in this case] adjusted the automatic pilot so as to increase the speed of the plane as it descended.”. The French magazine Paris Match and german tabloid Bild claim a 15 second video shot from the back of the plane just before the crash was recently discovered. While investigators deny such a video exists, it is possible they are required to deny its existence at this time due to the investigation still being open. Co-editor and Chief of The Paris Match, Regis Lessommier claims he’s seen the video and says it’s one of the most disturbing things he’s ever seen. The publication reported, “The scene was so chaotic that it was hard to identify people, but the sounds of the screaming passengers made it perfectly clear that they were aware of what was about to happen to them.” The crash killed citizens of Germany, Spain, America, Australia, Argentina, Iran, Venezuela, Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, Israel and possibly more countries whose deceased have yet to be named. Included in those killed were 16 German high school students returning from a Spanish-language exchange program and Yvonne and Emily Selke, a mother and daughter from America. Emily Selke had recently graduated from Drexel University with honors. As of now, 470 personal items have been recovered from the crash site as well as 40 badly damaged cell phones. Extreme conditions in the crash site location has made recovery efforts difficult and more evidence is sure to be uncovered in the following months. As someone who has struggled with severe depression for years and lost many friends to suicide, I am sympathetic to the plight of people like Andreas Lubitz. It is painfully clear the entire world needs to make more of an effort to help those with psychological illnesses and finally realize that considering depression and suicide as “taboo” in today’s day and age is flagrantly archaic. That being said, in this particular case, I feel no sympathy for Andreas Lubitz’s suicide; Only those he drug to the grave with him against their will. Andreas Lubitz is a murderer who killed 149 innocent people, including minors in his method of ending his own life. This man, who ignored the screams and pleas of 149 people as he flew the plane directly into the French Alps is no better than any callous killer who eventually resorts to suicide. His ex, who wished to only be known as Maria W. says Andreas Lubitz once stated, “One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember.”. Perhaps the best thing we can do to honor the memory of those who died that day against their will is to make changes to the whole system of mental health and airline safety on their behalf, not that of mass murderer Andreas Lubitz.
Germany has scheduled a national day of mourning for Germanwings crash victims on April 17, 2015. Some of the victims’ profiles are available on The New York Times website.
More details on the story as they become available.
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If you liked this article, you might also enjoy reading Victims of Terror, Last Photo of Mother & Child Taken Aboard Doomed Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 and The Bombing of Guernica

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