Reuters is reporting that the co-pilot of Airbus A320 appears to have crashed the plane deliberately. He has been named as Andreas Lubitz by Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin. It appears that the co-pilot was the only pilot in the cockpit at the time of crash.
The co-pilot of a Germanwings jet that went down in the French Alps, killing 150 people, appears to have crashed the plane deliberately, a Marseille prosecutor said on Thursday.
The German citizen, left in sole control of the Airbus A320 after the captain left the cockpit, refused to re-open the door and pressed a button that sent the jet into its fatal descent, the prosecutor told a news conference carried on live television.
An Airbus A320 airliner operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings budget airline crashed in the French Alps en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, aviation officials and police have said.
It is understood the plane declared an emergency at 10.47am local time, descending from 380 to 5000 feet, according to sources quoted by AFP. French prime minister Manuel Valls said that he feared between 142 and 150 passengers and crew have died in a plane crash in southern France.
He told reporters:
We of course don’t know the reasons for the crash. We obviously fear that the 142 to 150 passengers and crew died today, given the conditions of this crash.”
François Hollande, the French president, confirmed that a Germanwings plane had crashed near the town of Digne in the French Alps, and expressed his “solidarity” with the victims. He said:
There were 148 people on board. The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors … The accident happened in a zone that is particularly hard to access.”
British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, responding to the tragedy, said:
My heart goes out to the family and friends of those people who appear to have lost their lives in this devastating air crash in the Alps… it really must be the most traumatic time for all of them and my thoughts are with them right now.”