Germanwings Crash: Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Accelerated Plane, Showing He’s Responsible

April 3, 2015 Updated: April 3, 2015

More details about the Germanwings crash last week and co-pilot Andreas Lubitz have emerged on Friday.

Lubitz, who is accused of locking out the pilot and crashing the plane in the French Alps, deliberately accelerated the plane as it was about to crash, according to investigators who recovered date from the plane’s second black box. The second one was discovered Thursday at the crash site.

“Several times during the course of the descent, the pilot adjusted the automatic pilot so as to increase the speed of the plane as it descended,” the French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses said in a statement, according to French media reports. The BEA said it’s still attempting to “establish the specific factual progress of the flight.”

It means, according to investigators, that the crash was deliberately caused by Lubitz, 27. The second black box contains technical flight data, while the first records conversations in the cockpit.

The plane smashed into the mountains at more than 400 mph, killing all 150 people on board.

On Thursday, investigators revealed Lubitz had researched suicide methods and the safety of plane cockpit doors. They found that he did the research on a tablet computer just days before the crash last week.

German prosecutors have said Lubitz’s medical records from before he received his pilot’s license referred to “suicidal tendencies,” and Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, said it knew six years ago that Lubitz had had an episode of “severe depression” before he finished his flight training.

(Google Maps)
(Google Maps)

Two media outlets–Bild and Paris Match–also reported this week the existence of a cell phone video that captured the last moments of the plane crash. However, the video was denied by French authorities, and the video has yet to be uploaded anywhere online.

In Marseille, prosecutor Brice Robin said no memory cards from cell phones found at the site had been analyzed. “All (mobile phones) are for now being kept at Seynes-Les-Alpes. If people at the site have picked up mobile phones, I am not aware of it,” he told the Independent.

“If there is someone out there who has such a video, he or she has a duty to hand it to the investigation without delay,” he said.

But Frédéric Helbert, an investigative reporter with Paris Match, said he watched the video.

Robin added that his investigation focuses on France for now, but he has filed a formal request for judicial cooperation from Germany that could expand the scope of his probe.

Robin underlined French investigators’ conviction that he was conscious until the moment of impact, and appears to have acted repeatedly to stop an excessive speed alarm from sounding.

“It’s a voluntary action that guided this plane toward the mountain, not only losing altitude but correcting the aircraft’s speed,” he said Thursday.

The mountain rescue officer who found the data recorder, Alice Coldefy, described Friday the unexpected discovery in a spot that had already been repeatedly searched.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.