The Germanwings crash has shocked and appalled people all over the world not just because of the loss of 150 lives, but the manner in which they died. Soon after the crash it emerged that Lubitz may have been suffering from a mental disorder and committed suicide by crashing the plane on purpose. Now it appears that he had researched how to end his own life, write Andy Eckhart and Alastair Jamieson for NBC News.
Browser history reveals interest in suicide
Prosecutors investigating the crash seized Germanwings co-pilot Lubitz’ tablet computer from his home before analyzing search terms from the browser history. The results of their analysis suggest that Lubitz searched for information on medical treatments as well as “types and implementation methods of a suicide,” according to Attorney-General Ralf Herrenbrück of the Dusseldorf prosecutor’s office.
“On at least one day, the concerned person spent several minutes with search words about cockpit doors and their security measures,” he continued. Prosecutors think that Lubitz locked the captain of Germanwings flight 4U9525 out of the cockpit before intentionally crashing the plane into a mountainside in the French Alps.
The Germanwings Airbus A320 was on its way from Barcelona to Dusseldorf at the time, and all 150 people on board were tragically killed. Prosecutors have stressed that the analysis is preliminary and further investigation is needed to verify the information, which relates to the browser history from Lubitz’ tablet over the period of March 16-23.
Germanwings: Airline procedures to be reviewed
As a result of the crash, mental health screening for pilots has been brought into the public eye like never before. Airlines enforce regular physical testing but there is little emphasis on mental health issues, with pilots mostly expected to declare illnesses such as addiction or depression of their own volition.
Airlines have now been forced to reconsider their screening procedures, and German ministers announced that they would carry out a review of airline safety procedures, including features of cockpit doors and pilot medical testing.
Germanwings is wholly owned by Lufthansa, and the parent airline has come under increasing scrutiny after it revealed that Lubitz informed them that he had suffered a bout of depression in 2009.