Scenes from tragic plane crash in the French Alps
The co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings plane appears to have “intentionally” brought the plane down while his captain was locked out of the cockpit and banging to be let back in, prosecutors said Thursday.
First Officer Andreas Lubitz, 28, was alone at the controls of the Airbus A320 as it began its rapid descent, Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin told a news conference.
Passengers’ cries were heard on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder in the moments just before the plane slammed into the French Alps, Brice said.
“Banging” sounds also were audible, he said, suggesting the captain was trying to force his way back into the cockpit. However, the reinforced cockpit door was locked from the inside and could not be overridden, even with a coded entry panel.
“If he had been able to open this door, the captain would have done it,” Brice said.
Lubitz, a German national from the town of Montabaur, “didn’t say a word” during the descent, according to Brice, who said no distress signal or radio call was made.
Germanwings Flight 4U9525 left Barcelona at 9:55 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) on Tuesday en route for Dusseldorf with 144 passengers and six crew members on board. Three Americans were among the 150 people killed in the disaster, whose victims included sixteen high school children on an exchange visit, babies, businessmen and two opera singers.
Read more at NBCNews.com with reporting by Carlo Angerer, Alexander Smith and Alastair Jamieson