Germanwings crash: Media say co-pilot had 'depression'

Combo picture of German newspapers' pages
Image caption Bild's Friday front page features an image of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz running a marathon

German prosecutors say Andreas Lubitz appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employer, and that he had a note excusing him from work on the day of the crash.

They have not clarified the nature of the illness, but the Bild tabloid says its research into Andreas Lubitz's background suggests he has a history of depression.

Lufthansa has said that six years ago Mr Lubitz interrupted his pilot training at the company's flight school in Arizona for several months.

The tabloid quotes unnamed sources in the company as saying that the interruption was caused by a psychological problem, and that one point, the trainee was classed as "unfit to fly".

Image copyright Tageszeitung
Image caption The front-page headline of the Berlin daily Tageszeitung reads: "The human risk factor"
Image copyright Der Spiegel
Image caption "At someone else's mercy - one pilot, 149 victims" - the simple cover of news weekly Der Spiegel's new edition

'Lovesick'

Overall, he was in psychological treatment for one-and-a-half years during his training, his progress in the course was frequently halted, and in 2009 he was diagnosed with an "abated severe depressive episode", according to the daily.

Security sources are quoted as saying that their working assumption is that Mr Lubitz's relationship with his girlfriend was in crisis, and that he was "lovesick".

The paper says a file on Mr Lubitz at Germany's aviation authority bears the code SIC - apparently requiring him to undergo regular medical checks.

Image copyright Hamburger Morgenpost
Image caption Another stark headline from regional paper Hamburger Morgenpost
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police removed a number of items - including a computer - from Andreas Lubitz's properties

German media examine 'depression' reports

Meanwhile, investigators searching Mr Lubitz's flat in Duesseldorf appear to have found evidence corroborating the claims he had psychological disorder, according to sources quoted by the news magazine Der Spiegel.

The magazine adds that the exact nature of the evidence is not known, although prosecutors on Friday said they had found torn-up sick notes at his flat.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung says it has been told a note potentially barring Mr Lubitz was from a local neurologist and psychiatrist who had been already treating the pilot for a while. The daily does not name its sources.

Duesseldorf paper Westdeutsche Zeitung reports that a team of seven investigators searched Mr Lubitz's flat for hours on Thursday evening, and have cordoned off the area around it.

Investigators were also present at his parents' home in Montabaur, a quiet country town south of Duesseldorf.

According to Bild, Mr Lubitz spent most of his time at his parents', where he shared the first floor with his brother.

It adds that he appears to have had an active lifestyle, running marathons and being a member of a hang-gliding club, LSC Westerwald.

Before starting his pilot training, Mr Lubitz worked as a flight attendant, earning him the nickname "Tomato Andy" among his fellow trainee pilots.

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