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The co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed into the Alps on Tuesday, killing 150 people, “intended to destroy” the plane, French officials have said.
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, speaking to the press on Thursday, explained: “The intention was to destroy this plane”.
Citing voice recordings from the cockpit, the prosecutor said the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, was alive and alone in the cockpit when the plane crashed.
Prosecutors said Lubitz manually and "intentionally" set the plane on the descent that drove it into the mountainside in the southern French Alps.
The pilot had left presumably to go to the lavatory, and then was unable to regain access.
It is possible to be locked out of the cockpit, as this article explains.
Robin said after the pilot left the cockpit, Lubitz did not say a word.
There were a number of appeals from the pilot to be let back into the cockpit which were met with no response.
They say the most plausible explanation is that the co-pilot refused to let the pilot back in.
The first 20 minutes of the recorded conversation between the pilot and Lubitz was amicable.
Carsten Spohr, the chief executive of Lufthansa, Germanwings' parent company told a press conference the airline had no indication of why the co-pilot would have crashed the plane.
He said pilots undergo yearly medical examination but they do not include psychological tests.
Sphor said he had confidence in his pilots and were chosen "very carefully".
He said his airline would not change its procedures immediately as a result of the disaster.
French prosecutors said Lubitz was not known as a terrorist: "There is no element that indicates this is a terrorist action."
They also refused to call the co-pilot's actions "suicide", saying: "When you are responsible for 150 people, I don't call it that a suicide."
The pilot has reportedly been identified as Patrick Sonderheimer.
The motivation, if any, behind the tragedy.
If the attack was pre planned.