Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot believed to have intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525, killing 150 people, was suffering from a mysterious illness, prosecutors confirm.

Andreas Lubitz Suffered From Secret Medical Illness

Lubitz, 27, is widely believed to have locked the captain out of the cockpit midflight and crashed the plane in the French Alps on Tuesday, instantly killing all on board. Cockpit audio recordings recovered from one of the plane’s black boxes, it was revealed on Thursday, confirmed this theory.

“The most plausible interpretation is that the co-pilot through a voluntary act had refused to open the cabin door to let the captain in. He pushed the button to trigger the aircraft to lose altitude. He operated this button for a reason we don’t know yet, but it appears that the reason was to destroy the plane,” French prosecutor Brice Robin, said at a press conference Thursday.

Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, also expressed their belief that Lubitz was responsible for the crash, but cautioned against making any concrete conclusions before the second black box, which contains flight data, could be recovered and examined.

With the general consensus being that Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, the only unanswered question is why. Authorities initially said that they had found no connection between Lubitz and any kind of terrorist organization or outside group to suggested a planned or coordinated attack. German authorities currently searching Lubitz childhood home in Montabaur as well as Lubtiz’s apartment in Dusseldorf again confirmed that there was no evidence linking Lubitz to a terrorist group.

Torn Up Doctor’s Notes Excusing Lubitz From Work On Day Of Crash Found

During their search of Lubitz’s apartment, German authorities did find torn-up doctor’s notes excusing Lubitz from work for an undisclosed amount of time, including the day of the crash. German prosecution spokesperson Ralf Herrenbrueck said that the “ripped, recent medical leave notes, including for the day of the offense, leads to the preliminary conclusion that the deceased kept his illness secret from his employer and his professional environment.”

Dusseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa confirmed that the letter “indicated that he [Lubitz] was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work.” However, Kumpa and other authorities have refused to comment on the exact nature of Lubitz’s alleged illness, citing medical confidentiality. It’s unclear whether Lubitz suffered from a physical illness or a mental illness, though many are speculating the latter. Many German media outlets have claimed that Lubitz suffered from a mental illness, including Bild, which claimed to have obtained medical records proving Lubitz once suffered a “heavily depressive episode” during the time he took off from flight school.

It is important to note that, if Lubitz was indeed suffering from some kind of mental illness that contributed to his decision to crash the plane, he did not simply commit suicide – he committed a mass murder. As French prosecutor Robin stated on Thursday, “When you commit suicide, you die alone. With 150 on the plane, I wouldn’t call that suicide.”

Germanwings officials continue to say that Lubitz had been granted a clean bill of health, and Lubitz’s psychological state was taken into account at the time of his hiring.
However, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr admitted that once pilots are hired, the company does not require any kind of standard psychological testing. On Thursday, Sporh said that Lubitz was “deemed to be fit in all areas,” before the fatal flight.

Lufthansa Adopting “Rule Of Two” In Cockpit

Lufthansa announced that they would review their hiring policy, and have already taken steps to ensure a pilot is never again left alone in the cockpit. German airlines are expected to adopt the “rule of two” – a common practice for American airlines – starting as soon as possible, and Lufthansa has already begun enforcing the rule on their flights.

“After the tragic plane crash in France, the German airlines, under the auspices of the Federation of German Air Traffic Management (BDL) consulted with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Federal Aviation Office. According to our guidance, German airlines, as an initial move, must follow a provisional procedure in which the cockpit of the aircraft must have two authorized persons in at all times,” said BDL in an official statement.