March 27, 2015 5:36:59 pm
German prosecutors say they have found evidence that the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane which crashed in the French Alps appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers.
Prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf say they seized medical documents from the home of Andreas Lubitz that indicate “an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment.”
Prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement Friday that torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash “support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues.”
He said the search of Lubitz’s home revealed no suicide note or evidence of any political or religious motivation for his actions.
The co-pilot is suspected of intentionally crashing the plane into a mountain in the French Alps during the Barcelona to Duesseldorf flight.
France’s leading pilots union is filing a lawsuit over leaks about the investigation into the Germanwings crash.
Guillaume Schmid, a representative of the SNPL union, said Friday that pilots are angry that information about the dramatic final moments of the flight were reported in the media before prosecutors and others were informed.
After the media reports, a prosecutor announced that cockpit recordings indicate the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 jet intentionally flew the plane into a mountain on Tuesday. All 150 aboard were killed.
The lawsuit is over violating a French law on keeping information about investigations secret while they are ongoing. The lawsuit doesn’t name an alleged perpetrator, a common method in French law that leaves it to investigators to determine who is at fault.
Schmid said that pilots are saddened by the accident and understand the public’s wish for immediate information, but decried pressure on investigators and said that can lead to misleading the public instead.
11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT, 6:30 a.m. EDT)
Germany’s president has attended a memorial service in the western town of Haltern for 16 students and two teachers from the local high school who were killed in the Germanwings plane crash.
President Joachim Gauck and North Rhine-Westphalia’s state governor, Hannelore Kraft, attended the service along with students at the town’s St. Sixtus church.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked himself alone in the cockpit during Tuesday’s flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, and then intentionally crashed the plane into a mountainside in the southern French Alps. All 150 people aboard the plane were killed.
10:25 a.m. (0925 GMT, 5:25 a.m. EDT)
Germanwings says it is setting up a family assistance center in Marseille for relatives of the 150 people killed when one of its planes crashed in the French Alps.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane into a mountainside during Tuesday’s flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
Germanwings chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said in a statement that “in these dark hours our full attention belongs to the emotional support of the relatives and friends of the victims of Flight 9525.”
The airline, a subsidiary of German carrier Lufthansa, says some grieving relatives took part in a religious service Thursday afternoon near the crash site.
9:50 a.m. (0850 GMT, 4:50 a.m. EDT)
France’s prime minister has called on German airline Lufthansa to provide all information about Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who investigators believe intentionally slammed a plane into a French mountainside, killing all 150 people aboard.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Lufthansa to give the maximum of information “so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific” action.
In an interview with French network iTele, Valls said Friday that nothing would be ruled out until the end of a full investigation.
The Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed Tuesday in the southern French Alps. Germanwings is a division of Lufthansa.
9:15 a.m. (0815 GMT, 4:15 a.m. EDT)
German police have searched the home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in Duesseldorf and seized material that will now be examined as part of the investigation into the crash that killed 150 people in the French Alps.
French investigators believe Lubitz locked himself inside the cockpit and then intentionally smashed the Germanwings plane into a mountainside.
A spokeswoman for Duesseldorf police denied reports Friday that the officers had made any significant discovery yet.
“No crucial piece of evidence has been found yet,” Susanna Heusgen told The Associated Press.
Duesseldorf prosecutors say they plan to release an update on their investigation around noon (1100 GMT, 7 a.m. EDT).
7 a.m. (0600 GMT, 2 a.m. EDT)
The co-pilot who authorities believe intentionally crashed an airplane into the French Alps, likely first honed his flying skills for months in Arizona.
Lufthansa Group, which owns Germanwings airline, said Thursday that 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz trained in Bremen, Germany, and Phoenix starting in 2008.
A Facebook page bearing his name lists Phoenix Goodyear Airport among his interests. The airport houses Airline Training Center Arizona, a Lufthansa-owned training facility.
Aviation experts say students there log flight hours and attend classes on navigation in an 18-month period. On Thursday, German and Lufthansa flags outside the facility were flying at half-staff.
Sunshine and vast air space have historically made Arizona a popular location for pilot training.
French prosecutors say Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit of Germanwings Flight 9525 on Tuesday before the jet slammed into the mountainside.
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