Germanwings crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who crashed plane 'suffered burnout' says friend

Investigators do not know why Lubitz crashed the Airbus A320 into the Alps

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 26 March 2015 19:33 GMT
A picture posted by Lubitz to Facebook in February 2013
A picture posted by Lubitz to Facebook in February 2013 (Facebook)

Those who knew Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who French prosecutors believe deliberately crashed flight 4u9525 into an Alpine ravine on Tuesday, have said he was “quiet” and may have suffered from a “burnout” a number of years ago.

French authorities probing the cause of the crash today named the 28-year-old co-pilot from Montabaur, a town in the district seat of the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

A fuller picture of Lubitz’s personality is now slowly emerging, after Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said there were no grounds to suspect that Lubitz was carrying out a terrorist attack.

Robin went on to use a semantic argument to rule out “suicide”, and said: “I don't necessarily call it suicide when you have responsibility for 100 or so lives.”

A neighbour of Lubitz today told the German newspaper Bild that he had seen the pilot out jogging, but did not know him.

“He always seemed very polite and always said hello and I said hello back, but we never got into a conversation,” he said, according to a translation by the Guardian.

The person added that while the sense of neighbourliness in the area wasn't strong, he refused to believe that Lubitz had taken the plane down before it was proven 100 percent.

“I can’t believe that anyone would have the heart to commit such a selfish act,” the neighbour said.

Spiegel reporter Matthias Gebauer has tweeted that Lubitz's friends claim that he was suffering from a burnout or depression in 2009, when he took time out of pilot training.

But during a press conference held earlier today, Lufthansa staff were unable to answer why Lubitz interrupted his training, the Guardian reported.

Earlier, the LSC flying club, which Lubitz was a member of since his youth, posted a death notice on their website, describing how Lubitz had dreamed of being able to fly a plane when he was younger.

“Andreas became a member of the club as a youth to fulfill his dream of flying,” it said.

Peter Ruecker, a long-time member of the local flight club where Lubitz received his flying license years ago, said of the Lubtiz actions: "I'm just speechless. I don't have any explanation for this. Knowing Andreas, this is just inconceivable for me.

"He was a lot of fun, even though he was perhaps sometimes a bit quiet. He was just another boy like so many others here," he said.

"He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well," said Ruecker. "He gave off a good feeling."

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