Germanwings crash: Lufthansa knew of co-pilot depression

Andreas Lubitz Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lubitz started training with Lufthansa in 2008 before landing a job with Germanwings

The Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing his plane into the Alps had disclosed an earlier bout of depression, Lufthansa has said.

The airline, which owns Germanwings, said last week that Andreas Lubitz had taken a break from flight school training, but refused to say why.

It has now shared emails from 2009 which show Lubitz told instructors he had suffered from "severe depression".

Meanwhile, all human remains from the crash have reportedly been recovered.

French authorities told AFP news agency that the remains of all the victims had been removed from the remote ravine where the plane went down, but mountain troops would return to the scene on Wednesday to search for personal belongings.

The search for the second flight recorder will also continue.

Also on Tuesday, German newspaper Bild and French news magazine Paris Match said they had obtained a video showing the plane's last moments before the crash.

The footage was shot on a mobile phone inside the plane, and recorded the sound of passengers screaming and the sound of a metal object striking the cockpit door, the newspapers said.

'Suicidal tendencies'

A recording from the cockpit of the aircraft suggests Lubitz, 27, deliberately caused the disaster last Tuesday, which killed 150 people.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr previously said that the company was not aware of anything that could have driven the co-pilot to crash the Airbus A320.

"He was 100% fit to fly without any restrictions or conditions," he told reporters.

It has now emerged, as part of the airline's internal research, that Lubitz had sent information about his depressive episode to the Lufthansa flight school in Bremen, when he resumed training after an interruption of several months.

He subsequently passed all medical tests and eventually secured his license. He started working with Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings in 2013.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Candles and flowers were left at Duesseldorf airport in memory of the victims

German prosecutors said on Monday that Lubitz had received treatment for "suicidal tendencies" before completing his training.

But Lufthansa said his medical records were subject to doctor-patient confidentiality and it had no knowledge of their contents.

The company has set aside an additional $300m (€280m; £200m) to cover possible costs arising from the crash.

The money is separate from the $54,250 available to the relatives of each passenger to cover short-term expenses.

Airlines are obliged to compensate relatives for proven damages of up to a limit of about $157,000, regardless of what caused the crash. Higher compensation is possible if an airline is held liable.

None of the victims' bodies were found intact after the plane's 700km/h (430mph) impact, but different strands of DNA have been identified.

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that all 150 victims would be identified by the end of the week.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Mr Hollande said "exceptional scientific work" had been carried out by the recovery team.

Andreas Lubitz: Germanwings co-pilot

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andreas Lubitz left no letter, investigators say
  • Started training in 2008, at Bremen and Arizona. Training was interrupted for some months - but he later passed all tests and was deemed fit to fly
  • Working as co-pilot, or first officer, since 2013. Appeared pleased with his job
  • Lived in town of Montabaur, near Frankfurt, reportedly with his parents. Kept a flat in Duesseldorf and had many friends
  • Facebook profile suggests the active lifestyle of a keen runner, with an interest in pop music

Who was Andreas Lubitz?

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