The co-pilot of flight Germanwings Flight 4U9525 locked his captain out of the cockpit before deliberately crashing the plane into a mountain, killing all 150 people onboard. French prosecutor Brice Robin also gave other details of the last 10 minutes of the ill fated flight.
According to data extracted from the plane’s black box, the co-pilot 28 year-old German Andreas Gunter Lubitz, locked his captain out of the cockpit before manually putting the plane on descent.
“The intention was to destroy the plane. Death was instant. The plane hit the mountain at 700km per hour,” Brice said, “I don’t think that the passengers realised what was happening until the last moments because on the recording you only hear the screams in the final seconds.”
The crash took place on at around 11am on Tuesday in clear weather. Unverified information from plane-tracking websites appeared to rule out an explosion or a mid-air stall, both of which would cause a much faster descent. Experts said planes such as the Airbus would be able to glide for some distance in the case of total engine failure.
In the last 10 minutes of the flight there was total radio silence from the crew of the Barcelona–Düsseldorf flight operated by Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary. Investigators said they were puzzled as to why the crew did not send out a mayday or distress signal as flight 4U9525 rapidly lost altitude for eight minutes, or why the pilot did not change course to avoid crashing into a rocky ravine at around 430mph (700kmh).
France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, told RTL radio on Wednesday that the cockpit voice recorder found on Tuesday had been damaged but could still be used to find information. He said all options must be looked at to explain why the Airbus A320 crashed but a terrorist attack was not the most likely scenario.