Germanwings crash: Pastor of Andreas Lubitz's hometown says Montabaur community 'stands by co-pilot and his family'

Pastor says they 'belong to our community and we embrace them'

The pastor of a Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz’s hometown has vowed to stand by the Germanwings co-pilot, who is suspected of crashing a passenger plane into the French Alps.

Pastor Michael Dietrich claims he knew the 27-year-old since he was a teenager, when he attended religious education.

Prosecutors believe Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and intentionally descended the Airbus A320, killing himself and the 149 passengers and crew on board.

Pastor Dietrich said he also knew his mother, who worked as an organist in their community of Montabaur, a town in Germany.

"I know her and her family,” he told the Associated Press. “This does not make sense. It is incomprehensible for me, for us, for everyone who knew her and the family.

“For us, it makes it particularly difficult that the only victim from Montabaur is suspected to have caused this tragedy, this crash - although this has not been finally confirmed, but a lot is indicating that - and we have to face this.”

He said there has been no direct contact with Lubitz’s family up until now, but he believes they are being supported.

"The co-pilot, the family belong to our community, and we stand by this, and we embrace them and will not hide this, and want to support the family in particular," he said.

"From what I've heard, there were no obvious signs that there is anything in the background that could lead to this," he added.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said Lubitz’s family has not yet been questioned by investigators "out of decency and respect for their pain”.