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Don't ask about the co-pilot: Lufthansa boss refuses questions at Alps crash site

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Don't ask about the co-pilot: Lufthansa boss refuses questions at Alps crash site



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Just over a week after the Germanwings plane crash, the head of the airline and the boss of parent company Lufthansa have visited the scene.

They say it was important to mourn the victims and thank those helping in the recovery operation in the French Alps.

But they refused to answer any questions about the co-pilot, who seems to have deliberately crashed the plane, killing all 150 people on board.

A terrible “accident”

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr spoke to reporters in English: “We are just very, very sorry that such a terrible accident could have happened in Lufthansa where we put so much focus on safety.

“We are sorry for the losses that occured and there are just no words to express this.”

Spohr’s use of the word “accident” may raise eyebrows, when the crash seems to have been a deliberate act by the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz.

The heads of the airlines walked away when reporters started asking questions about 27-year-old Lubitz.

No questions from reporters

There was no response when one journalist asked: “When did you find the 2009 email from Lubitz? Why did it take you so long to publish the emails?”

This refers to the airline’s confirmation on Tuesday that Lubitz told his bosses in 2009, during his training, about a depressive episode he had suffered.

Another reporter asked: “Sir, your employee crashed a plane. Why are you refusing to take questions?”

The heads of Lufthansa and Germanwings, shielded by communication officials, walked away.

Reporters were told the pair would not be taking questions.

Mobile phone recording?

Adding to the agony of the victims’ family, it is reported that a video filmed on a mobile phone inside the plane, capturing its terrifying last moments, has been found in the wreckage.

The German tabloid newspaper Bild and the popular French magazine Paris Match have published details of the video, saying they have seen the recording.

There is confusion about the reports, however, with investigators denying any knowledge of a recording on a phone having been found.

The French news agency AFP quotes the Marseille Prosecutor as saying that any material retrieved from the crash site must be handed over to the authorities.

This raises questions about whether some material may have been scattered outside the official and protected disaster zone, or whether someone on the recovery team gave the phone to the media.

Three separate inquiries

The A320 crashed on route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf last Tuesday, near the village of Seynes-les-Alpes.

Most of the victims were German and Spanish.

Three separate investigations are underway.

One is being carried out by the French air accidents bureau, which normally does not give updates on its inquiry before a full report is released. This can take months, even years.

Another inquiry is by the prosecutor in the city of Marseille, as the crash happened on French soil. The other probe is being carried out by a German prosecutor.

The prosecutors in France and Germany are free to release new information as their investigations into criminal responsibility and blame continue.

Identifying the victims

There are conflicting reports about when all of the victims will be identified though DNA analysis.

The French President suggested it would be by the end of the week, but officials at the scene said it would take between two and four months.

Not one single body was found intact at the crash site, where the plane was shattered into small pieces.


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