The Germanwings Crash Would Never Happen in the US Here’s Why

March 28, 2015 Updated: March 29, 2015

It has been revealed the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps this week was likely caused by the plane’s co-pilot–a scenario that wouldn’t happen in the U.S.

The U.S. has stricter standards on how many people can be in the cockpit. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that a flight attendant has to sit in the cockpit area when one of the pilots go into the passenger area.

In Europe, the regulations are more lax, as European airliners don’t have the same two-person rule.

“It is shocking to me that there was not a second person present in the cockpit,” Mark Rosenker, who is a former chairman at the National Transportation Safety Board, told the New York Times.

The FAA rule wasn’t created to prevent unauthorized access or a rogue pilot situation. It was actually created in case a pilot falls ill, dies, or becomes incapacitated in another way.

Prosecutors believe the Germanwings co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, locked the pilot, whose name hasn’t been revealed, out of the cockpit before slamming the jet into the French Alps on Tuesday. The crash killed all 150 people on board.

Following the incident, airlines across Europe and the world rushed to adopt a two-person rule similar to the U.S.

Lufthansa, the Germanwings parent company, said this week that it’s setting up the “rule of two” policy as a “precautionary measure.” The statement reads, “Under the new procedure, two authorized persons must be present in the cockpit at all times during a flight.”

“The passenger airlines of the Lufthansa Group will adopt the new procedure as soon as possible, in due consultation with their national aviation authority,” the airliner said.

The Duesseldorf University Hospital said Friday that Lubitz had been a patient there over the past two months and last went in for a “diagnostic evaluation” on March 10. It declined to provide details, citing medical confidentiality, but denied reports it had treated Lubitz for depression.

The passenger airlines of the Lufthansa Group will adopt the new procedure as soon as possible.
— Lufthansa Group

Neighbors described a man whose physical health was superb and road race records show Lubitz took part in several long-distance runs.

“He definitely did not smoke. He really took care of himself. He always went jogging. … He was very healthy,” said Johannes Rossmann, who lives a few doors from Lubitz’s home in Montabaur.

People in Montabaur who knew Lubitz told The Associated Press that he had been thrilled with his job at Germanwings and seemed very happy.

On Friday, no one was seen coming or going from his family’s large slate-roofed two-story house in Montabaur as more than 100 journalists remained outside. Mayor Edmund Schaaf appealed to the media to show “consideration.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.