GermanWings co-pilot ‘deliberately’ destroyed plane – Prosecutor

March 26, 2015, 12:27 PM UTC

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, Brice Robin told a news conference carried on live television.

“The descent was intentional,” Robin said.

As reported, the plane had ended contact with air traffic controllers and begun to descend sharply but steadily for around eight minutes before crashing on a mountainside in the French Alps on Tuesday.

The prosecutor said that audio recordings retrieved from the aircraft’s black box confirmed the sound of others trying to break into the cockpit from outside, but nothing inside the cockpit except the sound of breathing. which continued until the moment of impact.

He noted that there was nothing to suggest that the crash was a terror attack.

The prosecutors haven’t released the name of the co-pilot, but the Wall Street Journal reported a German flight club as identifying him as Andreas Lubitz, a 28-year old from the town of Montabaur in south-western Germany. Lubitz had joined GermanWings in 2013 and had over 600 hours of flying experience.