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Germanwings Flight Final Seconds May Have Been Recorded On Cell Phone

Tuesday March 31, 2015    5:59 PM

DUSSELFORF, Germany - There are circulating reports that a passenger on the fateful flight may have used a cell phone to record video of the nightmarish final seconds of Germanwings Flight 9525.

French magazine Paris Match and German newspaper Bild reported that a video recovered from a phone at the wreckage site showed the inside of the plane moments before it crashed.

"One can hear cries of 'My God' in several languages," Paris Match reported. "Metallic banging can also be heard more than three times, perhaps of the pilot trying to open the cockpit door with a heavy object. Towards the end, after a heavy shake, stronger than the others, the screaming intensifies. Then nothing."

The two publications described the video, but did not post it on their websites. The publications reported that they watched the video, which was found by a source close to the investigation.

"It is a very disturbing scene," said Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild online.

An official with France's accident investigation agency, the BEA, said the agency is not aware of any such video.

Lt. Col. Jean-Marc Menichini, a French Gendarmerie spokesman in charge of communications on rescue efforts around the Germanwings crash site, said the reports were "completely wrong" and "unwarranted." Cell phones have been collected at the site, he said, but that they "hadn't been exploited yet."

Menichini said he believed the cell phones would need to be sent to the Criminal Research Institute in Rosny sous-Bois, near Paris, in order to be analyzed by specialized technicians working hand-in-hand with investigators. But none of the cell phones found so far have been sent to the institute, Menichini said.

Asked whether staff involved in the search could have leaked a memory card to the media, Menichini answered with a categorical "no."

Reichelt told "Erin Burnett: Outfront" that he had watched the video and stood by the report, saying Bild and Paris Match are "very confident" that the clip is real.

He noted that investigators only revealed they'd recovered cell phones from the crash site after Bild and Paris Match published their reports.

"That is something we did not know before. ... Overall we can say many things of the investigation weren't revealed by the investigation at the beginning," he said.

Airline: Co-pilot reported depression Lufthansa, meanwhile, announced that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz told his flight training school in 2009 that he had a "previous episode of severe depression."

What was mental state of Germanwings co-pilot?

The airline is sharing that information and documents -- including training and medical records -- with public prosecutors.

Authorities have said Lubitz purposely crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people aboard.

His girlfriend knew he had psychological issues but "did not know the extent of the problems," a European government official briefed on the investigation into last week's crash.

The girlfriend told investigators the couple were working through the issues together and "were optimistic" they could solve the problems; she was just as surprised as everyone else by what he did to the plane, the source says.

The girlfriend also told investigators Lubitz had seen an eye doctor and a neuropsychologist, both of whom deemed him unfit to work recently and concluded he had psychological issues, according to the source.

Investigators are looking into whether Lubitz feared his medical condition would cause him to lose his pilot's license, the source said, adding that while flying was "a big part of his life," it's only one theory being considered.

Another source, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, said that authorities believe the primary motive for Lubitz to bring down the plane was that he feared he would not be allowed to fly because of his medical problems.

Lubitz told the neuropsychologist that he was too stressed with work, the European government official briefed on the investigation said.

Official: Lubitz had suicidal tendencies Earlier, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Dusseldorf said Lubitz suffered from suicidal tendencies at some point before his aviation career.

Investigators have not found any writings or conversations where Lubitz shared his motives or confessed to any plans, prosecutor's spokesman Christoph Kumpa said. However, medical records reveal that Lubitz was suicidal at one time and underwent psychotherapy. This was before he ever got his pilot's license, Kumpa said.

Kumpa emphasized there's no evidence suggesting Lubitz was suicidal or acting aggressively before the crash.

The prosecutor's office confirmed what some media outlets had reported about doctors deeming Lubitz unfit to fly, though there were no physical illnesses found.

Check out the latest from our correspondents

Who was the captain of Germanwings Flight 9525?

Recovery efforts continue While investigators search for clues to Lubitz's motivation, recovery workers continue the grim task of searching for the remains of those killed in the March 24 crash.

The remains of at least 78 people on board the plane have been identified so far using DNA analysis.

Naffrechoux warned Monday that "it may not be possible to find the human remains of all the 150 passengers, as some of them may have been pulverized by the crash."

But French President Francois Hollande, speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, was more positive, saying that it should be possible to identify all the victims by the end of the week.

A simple stone memorial has been set up at Le Vernet, where grieving relatives of those killed have laid flowers and held prayers.

Germanwings crash compensation: What we know

Safety investigation The BEA, France's accident investigation agency, said that its ongoing safety investigation was focusing on a more detailed analysis of the flight history leading up to the crash, based on the audio recovered from the cockpit voice recorder and any other available data.

"A deliberate act by a man with a disturbed psychological profile is a possible scenario," BEA spokeswoman Martine Del Bono said. "The first step of the investigation is to describe more precisely what happened."

This will be based mainly on analysis of the cockpit voice recorder, to be supplemented by data from the flight data recorder if it is found, she said.

"But we will also look at other events with possibly similar scenarios, try to understand if there are systemic weaknesses which may contribute or facilitate such scenarios.

"We will in particular look at the cockpit door locking as well as the criteria and procedures applied to detect specific psychological profiles."