Police and prosecutors searched the homes of Germanwings crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, seizing several items as investigators hunted for clues about what triggered the tragedy.
The focus on Lubitz came after French investigators said they believe the 27-year-old “intentionally” slammed his plane into the French Alps, killing all on board.
Teams emerged late Thursday from Lubitz’s parents’ home in Montabaur — some 40 miles northwest of Frankfurt — carrying blue bags, a big cardboard box and what looked like a large computer. Another person who came out was shielded from reporters by police, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators also searched the apartment that Lubitz kept in an upscale three-story building in an affluent neighborhood in Dusseldorf.
French investigators hours earlier had said the cockpit voice recorder — recovered from the pulverized wreckage — indicated that Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and put the Airbus A320 into a rapid descent.
Amid swirling questions over what could have driven Lubitz to down the Germanwings plane, German tabloid Bild reported that the pilot, whose training included a spell at a flight school in Arizona, received psychiatric treatment for a “serious depressive episode” six years ago.
Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Germanwings’ parent company Lufthansa, told a news conference that Lubitz had taken a break during his training six years ago — but did not explain why and said he had passed all tests to be fit to fly.
He told NBC News the airline had no plans to change safety rules to ensure another person was in the cockpit at all times, despite similar moves by other European carriers.
“I don’t see any need to change our procedures,” he said, stressing his “firm confidence in the selection of our pilots, in the training of our pilots, in the qualification of our pilots, in the work of our pilots.”
Alastair Jamieson and Katy Tur also contributed reporting to this story.