Germanwings Update: Lufthansa Admits Prior Knowledge Of Andreas Lubitz’s “Severe Depression”
Lufthansa revealed on Tuesday that Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot responsible for the crashing of Germanwings Flight 4U9525, had in fact notified them of his past “severe depression.”
Lufthansa Knew Of Adreas Lubitz’s Past “Severe Depression”
Ever since it was revealed that Lubitz intentionally crashed the Germanwings flight, killing himself and all 149 other people on board, reports have been claiming that Lubitz had concealed a mental illness from his employers.
In a statement released Tuesday, Lufthansa admitted to having prior knowledge of Lubitz’ mental illness, though they remain steadfast in their claims that they were not aware of any current medical problems at the time of the crash.
According to the statement, Lufthansa’s internal investigation uncovered e-mails from Lubitz to his superiors at the company’s Flight Training Pilot School informing them he suffered from depression. His time off between starting school and finishing with his pilot’s license had previously been reported, and the belief was that he had in fact taken time off due to depression. What was not clear was to what extent Lufthansa knew about Lubitz’s mental health.
“In [email correspondence] he [Lubitz] informed the Flight Training Pilot School in 2009, in the medical documents he submitted in connection with resuming his flight training, about a ‘previous episode of severe depression,’” Lufthansa stated in their press release.
After he returned to Flight Training Pilot School, Lubitz completed the program and passed the mandatory health evaluation. Lufthansa does not appear to have followed up on Lubitz’s mental health after hiring him. The emails discussing his depression have been handed over to the German prosecutor investigating the crash.
This new revelation will no doubt call into question Lufthansa’s internal practices, and practices of airlines everywhere, especially concerning mental health. As Lufthansa has previously stated, pilots only undergo one psychological evaluation before hiring, and after that are not obligated by the airline to submit to any more. (They are, however, required to undergo an annual medical exam.) For psychological health problems, pilots are expected to self-report, something investigators believe Lubitz ignored. In fact, when they searched his apartment, officials discovered torn up doctor’s notes declaring Lubitz unfit to work on the day of the crash.
It’s unclear whether or not Lubitz was being treated for depression or any other mental illness at the time of the crash, but investigators did find anti-depressants in his home and it has been confirmed that Lubitz was seeking medical treatment for a vision problem that could have ended his career as a pilot. However, prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility that his vision problem was psychosomatic, as Lubitz was declared fit to fly at his last mandatory medical checkup.
Recovery Of Remains Continues In French Alps
Meanwhile, French officials continue to search the wreckage site in the French Alps for remains and other evidence that could shed light on what occurred on Germanwings Flight 4U 9525. On Tuesday, it was reported that cellphone footage of the plane’s final moments was discovered, and appears to show shaky footage of passengers screaming in a panic right before the plane hit the side of the mountains.
“The scene was so chaotic that it was hard to identify people, but the sounds of the screaming passengers made it perfectly clear that they were aware of what was about to happen to them,” wrote Paris Match of the alleged footage.
Germanwings and Lufthansa also announced on Tuesday that insurers had set aside $300 million to compensate families of victims who died in the crash.
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— Germanwings (@germanwings) March 31, 2015
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