MARSEILLES, France (Christian Examiner) – The French prosecutor in charge of the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash investigation identified the co-pilot as the perpetrator of the tragedy and revealed some background information in an attempt to try to satisfy questions about the crew member's motive.
Marseille Chief Prosecutor Brice Robin said Andreas Lubitz, 28, deliberately crashed the aircraft, setting the autopilot desired altitude from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, explaining why the aircraft followed a stable albeit rapid descent from cruise altitude until it hit a mountain in the Alps and ripped to pieces.
Robin said Lubitz was a German citizen and not known to have any terrorist connections. He also reported Lubitz had passed all fitness tests and had accumulated about 630 flight hours. He did not know whether the co-pilot had a particular religious affiliation.
Meanwhile, an industry publication article published in September 2013 described Lubitz as highly qualified. The Aviation Business Gazette announced the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had included Lubitz "in the prestigious FAA Arimen Certification Database" for meeting or exceeding "the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA."
He is listed as a resident of Montabaur, Germany.
The article said the purpose of the certification is to "reduce pilot errors that lead to fatal crashes" and the FAA standards for the recognition "are among the highest in the world."
Robin drew a sharp contrast with the eerie calmness of the co-pilot in the cockpit compared with the apparent frantic efforts of the pilot outside who was trying desperately to break in.
He said the pilot left the cockpit once the aircraft was established on its flight plan and when he tried to reenter, his light knocking on the door was ignored. Lubitz kept calm, his breathing described as steady, even as the pilot began pounding on the door and smashing into it to break into the flight deck.
Robin said the cockpit voice recorder picked up screams of passengers only in the last minute before the aircraft hit a mountain, skipped, and ripped apart in the Alps near Digne, France. He offered that death was instantaneous given the speed and rate of descent at which the aircraft crashed.