Germanwings plane crash: Pilot 'locked out of cockpit'

PARIS - One of the two pilots of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps was locked out of the cockpit, according to reports.

Early findings from the cockpit voice recorder suggest the pilot made desperate efforts to get back in, sources close to the investigation say.

The Airbus 320 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf hit a mountain on Tuesday after a rapid eight-minute descent.

Relatives of the 150 passengers and crew who died are to visit the area.

Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, arranged two special flights for families and friends on Thursday - one from Barcelona and one from Duesseldorf - to Marseille, and both groups will travel on by road. Separately, some relatives who did not want to fly are travelling by bus from Barcelona.

Germanwings chief Thomas Winkelmann said 72 passengers on flight 4U 9525 were German citizens, including 16 pupils returning from an exchange trip. Spain's government said 51 of the dead were Spanish.

Other victims were from Australia, Argentina, Britain, Iran, Venezuela, the US, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark and Israel.

On Wednesday, French officials said usable data had been extracted from the cockpit voice recorder but that it was too early to draw any conclusions.

Remi Jouty, director of the French aviation investigative agency, said he hoped investigators would have the "first rough ideas in a matter of days" but the full analysis could take weeks or even months.

However, the New York Times quoted an unnamed investigator as saying that one of the pilots - it is not clear if it is the captain or the first officer - left the cockpit and had been unable to get back in.

"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer," the investigator said, describing audio from the recorder.

"And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."

A source close to the investigation gave a similar account to the AFP news agency.

An alarm indicating proximity to the ground can be heard before the moment of impact, the source adds.

Lufthansa has not named the pilots but it said the co-pilot joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.