Alps crash pilot ‘hid sick note from bosses’

The boss of the airline involved in the French Alps disaster said today he was “stunned” that the plane might have been deliberately crashed by its co-pilot. The dramatic revelation came as tearful tributes were being paid by the family of a Yorkshireman named among the 150 victims.

Friday, 27th March 2015, 4:19 pm
Andreas Lubitz competes at the Airportrun in Hamburg, northern Germany.

Germanwings crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had an off-work sick note for the day of the disaster and was also a patient at a Dusseldorf hospital.

German prosecutors are now pouring over the medical history of Lubitz, 28, who deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps last Tuesday killing all 150 people on board, including three Britons.

There were also reports that the captain locked out of the flight deck after Lubitz put the plane into a descent had used an axe in an unsuccessful to break down the cockpit door.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The sick note was among items found when police searched Lubitz’s apartment in Dusseldorf.

“Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors,” said the prosecutors’ office in Dusseldorf.

The office went on: “The fact there are sick notes saying he was unable to work, among other things, that were found torn up, which were recent and even from the day of the crime, support the assumption based on the preliminary examination that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional colleagues.”

The prosecutors said the search had found no suicide note or confession, “nor was there any evidence of a political or religious background to what happened”.

Dusseldorf University Hospital said in a statement today that Lubitz had been a patient and had last came to the hospital for “diagnostic evaluation” on March 10. It declined to provide details about his condition but denied German media reports that it had treated the pilot for depression.

The hospital says it has submitted Lubitz’s patient record to prosecutors in Dusseldorf, where he lived.

A German aviation official said today that Lubitz’s file at the country’s Federal Aviation Office contained a “SIC” note, meaning that he needed “specific regular medical examination”.

But neighbours described a man whose physical health was superb.

Flowers laid in memory of the victims are placed in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in the French Alps

“He definitely did not smoke. He really took care of himself. He always went jogging. I am not sure whether he did marathons, but he was very healthy,” said Johannes Rossmann, who lived a few doors down from Lubitz’s other home in Montabaur.

Earlier, France’s prime minister called on Lufthansa to provide all information about Lubitz.

Manuel Valls said that Lufthansa should give the maximum of information “so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific action”.

Following the lead of a number of other airlines including some UK carriers, Germanwing’s parent airline Lufthansa said it was introducing new procedures that would mean that two authorised persons had to be in the cockpit at all times during a flight.

A firefighter stands in front of candles and flowers on the steps to the Joseph-Koenig high school in Haltern, Germany

Germanwings, which has asked for its adverts to be taken down from London Underground stations, was setting up a family assistance centre in the French city of Marseille. It added that family briefings would start tomorrow.


A Germanwings passenger has shared her moving experience flying with the airline just a day after the French Alps plane disaster.

Britta Englisch posted a message on the airline’s Facebook page describing the emotional moment the pilot reassured passengers they would be safe with him.

In the post, she said she boarded the flight from Hamburg to Cologne in Germany with “mixed feelings”.

“But then the captain did not only personally say hello to every passenger but gave a speech before take-off,” she wrote. “Not from the cockpit, but from the cabin.

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in San Francisco, California.

“About how he and the crew had been affected by the tragedy. About how the crew feel strange as well, but all of them were there voluntarily.

“And about how he has a family too, the crew have families too, and that he will do anything to make sure he will arrive back with them in the evening.

“It was completely quiet. And then the whole plane applauded.

“I would like to thank this captain. For understanding what we all thought. And for making me feel good about the flight.”

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, right, and Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann arrive for a press conference near the Germanwings headquarters in Cologne, Germany
Police hold media away from the house where Andreas Lubitz lived in Montabaur, Germany
Travelers observe a minute of silence to remember the plane crash victims
Lufthansa and Germanwings employees observe a minute of silence
Members of German Government Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, from right, hold a minute of silence
Paul Andrew Bramley
Paul Andrew Bramley, 28, originally from Hull, who was a passenger on the Airbus flight which crashed in the French Alps
Rescue teams struggle to reach the remote, snow-covered crash site of the Germanwings passenger plane.
People waiting for flight 4U 9525 are lead away by airport staff at the airport in Duesseldorf
A man who appears to have waited for the missing flight 4U 9525 reacts at the airport in Duesseldorf
DNA evidence of some of the flight crash victims has been found in the Alps.