News World Germanwings pilot ‘locked out of cabin’: report

Germanwings pilot ‘locked out of cabin’: report

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The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet that crashed in the French Alps had been on the job since September 2013 and had 630 hours of flying experience, says parent company Lufthansa.

The co-pilot “was First Officer at Germanwings since September 2013”, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said on Thursday.

He had been trained as a pilot at Lufthansa Flight Training in the northern German city of Bremen and had 630 hours of flying experience under his belt.

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By comparison the plane’s pilot had more than 10 years’ experience and 6000 hours of experience flying the Airbus A320 model, Lufthansa revealed previously.

The spokeswoman said Lufthansa could neither confirm nor deny information that said one of the two pilots on the doomed flight was locked out of the cockpit before the plane went down.

Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday the New York Times reported that one of the captains on the doomed Germanwings flight was reportedly locked out of the cabin before the plane crashed into the French Alps.

A source close to the investigation says cockpit recordings recovered from the crash site indicated one of the seats was pushed back and the door opened and closed, followed by the sound of knocking, the source said, adding “there was no more conversation from that point until the crash”.

The source said an alarm indicating the proximity of the ground could be heard before the impact.

The recording included the pilots speaking normally and in German at the start of flight 4U9525.

The source could not say if it was the captain or the first officer who had left the cockpit.

The New York Times reported an unnamed investigator who had heard the recording as saying officials did not know why one of the pilots left the cockpit.

“But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door,” the investigator said.

The Airbus A320 began a sudden and fatal eight-minute descent shortly after reaching cruising altitude.

No distress signal was sent and the crew failed to respond to desperate attempts at contact from ground control.

All 150 people on board the airliner were killed, including Melbourne nurse Carol Friday, 68, and her 29-year-old son Greig.


All 150 people on board were killed, including an Australian mother and son.

French air crash investigation agency BEA chief Remi Jouty said on Wednesday that it would take several days to decipher the content of the cockpit recordings.

“We have just succeeded in extracting usable data from the cockpit voice recorder,” Mr Jouty said on Wednesday.

“We have not yet been able to study and to establish an exact timing for all the sounds and words heard on this file.

“At this stage, we don’t have the slightest explanation or interpretation as to what led this plane to fly down.”

Photos of the mangled black box, which was retrieved at the site, showed its metal casing torn and twisted by the violence of the impact.

The casing of a second black box, the flight data recorder, has been found but not the device itself.

While stressing it was too early to form a clear picture, he ruled out a mid-air explosion having taken place and said the crash scenario did not appear to be linked to depressurisation.

Among the new details, he said the airliner had flown in a straight line directly into the mountain — but would not say whether that suggested at the hand of a pilot or auto-pilot.

In Frankfurt, the chief of Lufthansa, which runs the low-cost Germanwings airline, Carsten Spohr said the crash was “inexplicable”.

“The plane was in perfect condition and the two pilots were experienced,” he said.

Weather did not appear to be a factor in the crash, with conditions calm at the time. Germanwings had an unblemished safety record.

with ABC/AAP

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