Andreas Lubitz 'repeatedly urged Germanwings captain to leave him alone' before setting A320 on path to French Alps crash

New details from voice recordings reveal Captain Patrick Sondheimer's final words as alarms sounded were 'Open the goddamn door!'

Adam Withnall
Monday 30 March 2015 10:17 BST
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Andreas Lubitz runs the Airport Race half marathon in Hamburg on 13 September 2009
Andreas Lubitz runs the Airport Race half marathon in Hamburg on 13 September 2009 (Reuters)

The Germanwings co-pilot who is believed to have deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps made repeated efforts to get the captain to leave him alone in the cockpit, it emerged today.

Full transcripts of the black box voice recorder recovered from Flight 9525 revealed for the first time the apparently premeditated nature of Andreas Lubitz’s actions, which prosecutors say deliberately killed himself and 149 other people on the Airbus A320.

During the plane’s ascent, Lubitz can be heard on the voice recording telling his captain he can go to the toilet any time and reminding him he didn’t do so during their prolonged stop in Barcelona, according to a translation of Bild’s report in the Mail on Sunday.

As the plane reaches cruising height at 10.27am, Sondheimer can be heard telling his co-pilot to start preparing for landing in Dusseldorf – to which Lubitz reportedly responded in a vague and “laconic” manner and used words like “hopefully” and “we’ll see”.

After landing checks, Lubitz reportedly tells Sondheimer: “You can go now.” Two minutes later, the captain left the cockpit for the last time, telling his colleague: “You can take over.”

Further details were also reported by Bild about the final words used by Sondheimer as he desperately tried to gain access to the locked flight deck.

With the plane descending and an automatic alarm signal sounding, the captain can be heard shouting: “For God’s sake, open the door!”

At 10.35am a “loud metallic banging against the door” is heard, which Bild reported is more likely to be from a crowbar rather than the plane’s only axe – located next to Lubitz in the cockpit.

Trust betrayed: lessons will be learned from the Germanwings crash (Getty)

Less than two minutes later a new automatic alert sounds, warning: “Ground! Pull up! Pull up!”

Sondheimer can be heard shouting for the last time: “Open the goddamn door!”

At 10.40am the plane hit the side of the mountain. At no point during the descent can Lubitz be heard speaking, and prosecutors described his breathing as “normal”.

Last night Lubitz was described as suffering from a “serious psychosomatic illness”, and officials said he had been receiving treatment from “several” psychiatrists.

Amid reports that the pilot was worried about losing the right to fly due to deteriorating eye problems, Phil Giles, a former investigator with the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch, told The Independent yesterday that Germanwings would have serious questions to answer over the mental state and medical history of their employee.

The airline maintains that Lubitz’s health was regularly checked by company flight doctors and there was no indication that he was mentally ill.

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