Germanwings pilot not suicidal before deadly crash, says father

Russell Hope, News Reporter

The father of a pilot who flew a plane into a mountain, killing all 150 on board, says he doubts his son did it deliberately to commit suicide.

An investigation into the Germanwings disaster concluded in January that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, 27, was suffering from a mental disorder with psychotic symptoms that led to suicidal thoughts.

Prosecutors said he locked the pilot out of the cockpit before flying the A320 jet into a French mountainside in March 2015 while travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

Two years to the day since the crash, Gunter Lubitz, 63, told a news conference in Berlin that he did not recognise the description of his son pieced together by prosecutors, who reiterated earlier this week that nobody else could be held accountable.

"In the six years before the crash, we saw our son as a life-affirming and cheerful person. At the time of the crash, our son was not suicidal," Mr Lubitz said.

"We had to live with the fact that he was portrayed as a mass murderer in the media," he told journalists.

When asked if he believed his son was innocent, he said: "We are searching for the truth."

Mr Lubitz and an aviation journalist he hired, Tim van Beveren, have examined investigators' files and claimed there was no evidence to explain why the other pilot could not return to the cockpit.

Mr Beveren also said turbulence may have forced Lubitz to fly at lower altitudes and that it has not been proved that Lubitz was conscious during the descent.

But Dusseldorf-based prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said he saw no reason for the prosecution to reopen its investigation.

"The crash happened due to the deliberate actions of the co-pilot, likely with suicidal intent. There is not sufficient actual evidence of any other cause of the crash, and none is foreseeable," he said.

The claims were made on the same day that families of the crash victims paid their respects at the crash site in France and some have criticised Mr Lubitz.

Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer for several of the victims' families, called his actions "irresponsible."

"I imagine that Mr Lubitz wants to promote a theory that would absolve his son of any responsibility," he told Germany's Rheinische Post newspaper.

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