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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lufthansa flight school knew of co-pilot's depression

The German pilot who crashed a plane in the French Alps last week, killing 150 people, told officials at a Lufthansa training school in 2009 that he had gone through a period of severe depression, the airline said today.

The statement is potentially damaging for the airline and its CEO Carsten Spohr, who told reporters last week that the carrier knew of no reason why 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz might deliberately crash a plane.

The fact that Lufthansa officials were aware that Lubitz suffered from depression raises questions about its screening process for pilots as it faces the threat of legal action from relatives of the victims.

Lufthansa said Lubitz broke off his pilot training for a period of several months but then passed medical checks confirming his fitness to fly.

When Lubitz resumed training in 2009, he provided the flight school with medical documents showing that he had gone through a "previous episode of severe depression," Lufthansa said, citing emailed correspondence between Lubitz and the flight school.

Duesseldorf state prosecutors said on Monday Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies before getting his pilot's licence.

They last week found torn-up sick notes showing that Lubitz was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him.

Germanwings said it had not received a sick note from Lubitz for the day of the crash. Lubitz had a valid medical certificate at the time of the crash of the Airbus A320 operated by its budget unit, Lufthansa added.

Lufthansa said it had passed the email correspondence and additional documents to the Duesseldorf prosecutors after internal investigations.

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Tags:  Lubitz  Germanwings  Lufthansa  accident  





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