Germanwings tragedy ‘must never happen again’

Co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525, Andreas Lubitz. Picture: AFP

Co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525, Andreas Lubitz. Picture: AFP

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THE father of one of the victims of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps has made an emotional appeal for airlines to take greater care over pilots’ welfare.

French prosecutors believe German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into a mountain, killing 150 people on board, as it emerged that he hid evidence of an illness from his employers – including a sick note for the day of the crash.

Philip Bramley, whose son Paul, 28, was one of the three Britons on the Düsseldorf-bound Airbus A320 when it crashed, said Lubitz was

“ill” and his motivation for bringing the plane down was “irrelevant”.

Fighting back tears in Digne, close to the crash site, Bramley said: “What is relevant is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever. I don’t want it to be forgotten, ever.”

He added: “I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly.

“We put our lives and our children’s lives in their hands.”

He spoke as a special Mass was held in Digne to honour the victims and support their families.

Bishop Jean-Philippe Nault led the Mass, which was attended by about 200 people from the surrounding region, deeply shaken by the tragedy, the deadliest crash on French soil in decades.

A former girlfriend of Lubitz has said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper that he told her last year: “One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember.”

The 26-year-old flight attendant, who flew with Lubitz for five months last year and has not been named, added that his reported health problems would have damaged his ambition to be a captain with Lufthansa as a long-haul pilot.

The black box voice recorder indicates that Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit on Tuesday and crashed the plane into a mountainside.

German prosecutors said they found medical documents at Lubitz’s house suggesting an existing illness and evidence of medical treatment, including a torn-up sick notes.

They said he appeared to have concealed his illness from his employers.

His former girlfriend told Bild they separated “because it became increasingly clear that he had a problem”.

She said he was plagued by nightmares and would at times wake up screaming “we’re going down”.

It is understood Lubitz frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents.

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