• Spain's news in English
'Candour needed on pilots' mental health': crash probe
A tribute to the victims of the March 24 Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village of Le Vernet, southeastern France. Photo: AFP

'Candour needed on pilots' mental health': crash probe

AFP · 13 Mar 2016, 13:11

Published: 13 Mar 2016 12:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Mar 2016 13:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Clearer rules are needed to establish when it is necessary to lift medical confidentiality," investigator Arnaud Desjardins said at the launch of the report.

The report found that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had been urged to attend psychiatric hospital just weeks before he crashed the plane in March last year, but his employer had not been informed.

The French probe into the crash of the plane deliberately flown into a mountain by the co-pilot also recommended more stringent medical checks for pilots in its conclusions published on Sunday.

BEA civil aviation investigators also agreed with their earlier findings that the crash in the French Alps a year ago with the loss of 150 lives was caused by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had been treated for depression.

As a result of the Germanwings crash a year ago -- in which 150 people travelling between Barcelona and Duesseldorf died -- European aviation authorities have already recommended making it compulsory to have two people in the cockpit at any time during flights.

Some countries are opposed to the measure, however, with Germany's pilots' union believing it poses "risks that outweigh any supposed improvements in security".

In the fateful flight on March 24th, 2015, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit. Ten minutes later the Airbus 320 ploughed into a mountain hillside, killing all 144 passengers and six crew.

It emerged that Lubitz had been suffering from depression and had seen dozens of doctors in the years preceding the crash.

But under German law none was able to alert his employers to his state of mind and he was allowed to continue flying.

On the black box voice recorder recovered at the crash scene, all that is heard from Lubitz is regular breathing. He gave no words of explanation for his murderous course of action.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has already recommended stepping up medical testing for pilots, including more psychological tests.

BEA chief Remi Jouty said the French investigation had sought to identify the "systematic failures which led to this accident". The investigators had also looked at the "balance between medical secrecy and flight security".

Story continues below…

The dead included 72 Germans, among them a group of 16 high school students, and 50 Spaniards.

A German lawyer for some of the families of the dead said this month they intended to sue the training school in Phoenix, Arizona, which Lubitz attended, claiming it should have flagged up his psychological problems.

"The co-pilot interrupted his training there for a while due to psychological problems," lawyer Christof Wellens said. "He shouldn't have been allowed to resume his training."

Germanwings' parent company Lufthansa has paid €50,000 ($56,000) per victim in an initial payment and offered an additional 25,000 euros to each of the families plus €10,000 to each immediate relative including parents, children and spouse.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available