Experience has shown that aircraft accident investigations take several years. In case of the Germanwings airplane crash in the French Alps the investigating prosecutor Brice Robin announced after only two days: The copilot deliberately crashed the aircraft. When the captain left the cockpit, the copilot initiated a descent. The copilot did not allow the captain to reenter the cockpit. Prior to these announcements there had been a first listening of the cockpit voice recorder by the French gendarmerie. However, to prove beyond doubt who, in fact, was in the cockpit a voice identification should have been carried out. In order to confirm the identity of the speakers the cockpit voice recorder data should have been played to the copilot’s parents and the captain’s wife. However, this was not done. Instead, it was assumed that the “strong” voice belonged to the captain and the “weak” voice was that of the copilot.
Therefore, it was presumed that it was the copilot who had locked out the captain.
Thus, intentional actions by the copilot were assumed. In reference to the pilot remaining in the cockpit, on page HA 04310 of the investigation report it is documented:
“Listening to the various recording channels revealed that breathing could be detected from a headset microphone, which means that he was alive, although there was no evidence that he was conscious.”
This means that there is no evidence of conscious or even deliberate actions, only that the recorded breathing showed that he was alive.
It was also assumed that the pilot remaining in the cockpit consciously and intentionally initiated the descent. However, the recordings do not reveal any sounds up to the moment of impact that would indicate a pilot’s active manipulations of the aircraft controls.
Various press articles reported that the copilot suffered from depression in 2015.
On page HA 10309 of the investigation file there is a medical certificate from January 29, 2015 – less than two months before the crash – in which the following is certified by a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy (see screenshot):
“The patient named above appears to be completely healthy from a psychiatric point of view. There is no indication of a psychiatric disease.
Regarding illness, Mr. Lubitz does not have a higher risk than the average population.”
By the constant repetitions of unsubstantiated allegations, large parts of the public have been convinced of the copilot’s guilt and his responsibility for the crash of the Germanwings aircraft. However, this is not reflected in the facts of the accessible investigation reports.
Missing evidence of the cockpit door not opening
It has been described not only in various reports on the Germanwings crash that a pilot had locked the cockpit door in order to lock out a colleague, but also in the official final report of the French investigation authority BEA. But has this ever been proven?
What was the cause of BEA’s final report on the cockpit door that cannot be opened? The following findings were documented there. On page 108/110, Appendix 3, letter from the BFU (German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation), the following statement is made regarding the actions of the pilot in the cockpit:
“did not unlock the cockpit door and therefore prevented access by other persons.”
In this context, the question arises as to why the cockpit door was not opened. Because the pilot who remained in the cockpit didn’t want to let his colleague in? In the investigation file of the Germanwings crash, comprising more than 10,000 pages, the result of listening to the cockpit voice recorder related to the pilot is documented on page HA 04310:
“Listening to the different recording channels revealed that breathing was heard through the mouth microphones, which means that he was alive, but there was no evidence that he was conscious.”
That is, there was no evidence of conscious or deliberate action, just the assumption that he was alive because he was breathing.
The journalist and flight expert Mr. van Beveren investigated this issue in an expert report and addresses it on page 109.
He used the cockpit voice recorder transcript to examine the pilot’s breathing after the cockpit door was locked. His finding: Within the next 20 seconds, the pilot’s breathing suddenly accelerates to hyperventilation. As musicians and air passengers, as well as cabin crew, know from experience, this can lead to unconsciousness in a very short time. The breathing then remains stable in this state of tachypnea. Tachypnea – rapid breathing – is the body’s desire for more oxygen and therefore causes an increased breathing rate. Experts speak of “acute” tachypnea if a person takes more than 20 breaths per minute.
The pilot’s breathing rate was 26 breaths per minute and remained constant over the entire period, even at times when, according to BEA’s theory, the pilot activated the autopilot with extremely brisk movements and with appropriate physical exertion. Physicians argue that even in a state of psychosis the unconscious reactions of the autonomic nervous system are preserved and do not cease. They conclude from this that the person was not in a state of psychosis, but in a state of incapacity or loss of consciousness.
It should also be noted that there are no further noise recordings up to the aircraft impact, which indicates that there was no active intervention by the pilot in controlling the aircraft control.
It is not evident from the investigation file that this fact of increased respiratory rate has been officially investigated by medical and psychological experts. So the question remains: Was the person remaining in the cockpit indeed conscious during the final 10 minutes of the flight? If not, this would be another possible explanation for why he didn’t open the cockpit door. This should have been investigated as part of a full inquiry!
In an emergency, the cockpit door can be opened using a special three-digit code. This emergency code, exclusive to the respective airline, is known to all crew members and is entered into a keypad. The question arises: Why could the other pilot not open the cockpit door with the emergency code? Mr. van Beveren examined this question in his report.
He writes on page 98: “It was not discussed whether an investigation as to whether the keypad of the cockpit door on the day of the accident flight (or at any time in the past) had a defect. However, in the opinion of van Beveren, this is of fundamental importance, because shortly after the accident there were indications from Germanwings circles that this keypad had previously malfunctioned when trying to open the accidentally closed cockpit door while the aircraft was on the ground by entering the emergency code.”
Hence, the final question: Has the true state of consciousness of the pilot in the cockpit and the perfect functioning of the keypad really been determined?
How is the fifth anniversary different from the first, second, third or fourth?
We have learned to live with our loss, but we will always miss our child, and the sadness that he is no longer with us will accompany us for life.
The fifth anniversary is no different from those before or all those in our future.
Please read the lyrics below from a song we sang at Andy’s funeral.
1. How should we grasp what cannot be grasped?
It is hard to let go and yet there is no end in sight.
We have had so many questions, and we still need time.
What to do with our lamentations and our sadness?
2. Life has flown, death arrived with power.
Laughter? It has moved far away, suffocated by deepest darkness.
There is emptiness in us, silence. There is nothing more we can do.
Why this bowing down? Why this dying?
3. Much faster than we suspected the blue sky is torn.
Our plans have been thwarted. The world seems cold and gray.
What will be? Who can say? Oh, God, these questions torment.
Do you help to bear the suffering? Do you offer consolation now that we can count on?
4. Do not let us not sink, God, although the pain is overwhelming.
Where we stumble and struggle, hold us up and do not let us fall.
Let us trust that you protect life.
Help us to build on you, on the blessings you enact.
Lyrics: Eugen Eckert, 1998 Strube publishing house, Munich, EG plus, No. 163
Will new insights find their way into media coverage?
The fifth anniversary of the tragic and life-altering event of 24 March 2015 is coming up soon. It can be assumed that the media will publish reports regarding the catastrophe and the circumstances around it. The numerous reports of the past five years have nearly always included the following two key messages:
1. The co-pilot intentionally locked the cockpit door.
2. The co-pilot was depressed at the time of the crash.
However, over these intervening five years these statements have become untenable. As our readers know, we have indicated this in various articles on this website and provided the corresponding evidence.
Regarding point 1 above, it has not been proven that the co-pilot deliberately locked the cockpit door. For unknown reasons, the door was not opened (see link below).
https://andreas-lubitz.com/en/2018/08/ “The deliberate lockout of the captain from the cockpit”
Regarding point 2, according to the investigative findings of the Düsseldorf public prosecutor the co-pilot did not suffer from depression at the time of the crash (see link below).
https://andreas-lubitz.com/en/2019/01/ ” Current developments – Renewed lawsuit by families’ lawyer”
The statement by the renowned journalist and author Ulrich Wickert is absolutely remarkable:
“80 percent of the reports on the 27-year-old have been proven to be false” (see link below).
Nonetheless, the press representatives have repeated these unsubstantiated claims in their reports like a prayer wheel, without incorporating new and contradictory information. We can infer that behind these repeated falsehoods there lies the clear intention to sustain the publicized image of “The Depressed Co-pilot Who Locked the Cockpit Door.” If journalists were to investigate the cumulative findings and incorporate them into their reports, they then would necessarily have to address the question: Could the cause of the crash have been different?
Doubts about the official version were raised in December 2019, when reports were released that the victims’ cell phones were returned to the families but with audio and video data deleted.
Further questions immediately arise: “Is there something to hide? And if so, what?”
Let us hope that on the fifth anniversary journalists will educate themselves with the current available information and move from the established storyline to a degree of enlightenment, which will lead to the objective reporting we expect from responsible media. A “No Comment” response from authorities does not entitle them to maintain the established storyline unrestrictedly and uncritically.
In an interview, a victim’s relatives comment on the deleted cell phone data
A few days before Christmas, the largest German tabloid did not shy away from reporting again on the Germanwings crash on March 24, 2015. A victim’s family from the former East Germany, who had lost their adult son in the crash, was ready to comment on the subject of “deleted cell phone data,” and offered the son’s cell phone, found at the crash site, available for examination. The NAND memory – on which all the data of a mobile phone, such as SMS histories, photos, videos, and phone records are located – was removed from the device and deleted, as confirmed by an IT expert. The tabloid report raised the question of who had manipulated the cell phone (as well as those of the other crash victims) – and why.
The British crisis agency Kenyon was commissioned by Lufthansa to hand over the cell phones to the relatives after they had previously received the devices from the French investigation authorities. In other words, the phones first went to French authorities, then to Kenyon, and only then to victims’ relatives. To be thorough, the tabloid requested an explanation from the French investigative authorities regarding the deletion of the phone memories, but the request remains unanswered.
In an attempt at an explanation, victim lawyer Elmar Giemulla speculated that the recorded events of the final moments on board might have been too disturbing for the bereaved families. He must therefore be assuming that photo or video recordings by passengers indeed existed.
Well, the fact is that the relatives have not been spared in any way. The Marseille public prosecutor’s office invited victims and their lawyers to Paris on June 11, 2015. There they were shown a simulation from the pilot’s cockpit perspective to the point of impact. This simulation is said to have been accompanied by the original audio recordings from the cockpit voice recorder. According to media reports, the demonstration was so shocking for the relatives that about one in four of the around 200 people left the room.
It is interesting to contrast the simulation scenario with the aforementioned explanation about shielding the families from shocking cell phone images.
In this context, it must be mentioned that the French authorities have never provided the original data or copies from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder to either the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) or the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office. Several inquiries from the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office to the French investigative authorities regarding the release of the cockpit voice recorder have remained unanswered each time.
We must twice ask the question: “Why?”
First: Why was the cell phone data irretrievably deleted?
Second: Why have the German investigation authorities never received the original recordings from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder?
Deleted cell phone data and missing original recordings – Why?
by Werner Reiser
As the gathering of the heavenly hosts over the fields of Bethlehem joyfully sang, “Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to Men on Earth,” a little angel suddenly stopped singing. Although he was only a small voice in the infinite choir, his silence was noticeable. As angels sing in closed ranks, any gap is immediately remarked.
The singers beside him hesitated and ceased singing as well. The failing of voices quickly spread, nearly silencing the whole choir; the song would have diminished to nothing if not for a few unwavering archangels with strong swelling voices. One of them looked for the reason for spreading silence.
With a nod of command he indicated that the singing continue and then turned his attention to the little angel.
“Why do you not want to sing?” he asked sternly.
The small angel answered, “I wanted to sing. I sang, ‘Glory to God in the Highest’. But when I came to, ‘Peace on Earth among Men,’ I could not go on.
“Suddenly I imagined the many soldiers in this country and in all countries. Everywhere and always they spread war and terror, killing the young and old, and call this peace. And even where there are no soldiers, there are quarrels and violence, flying fists and angry words between people, and bitterness rules over those of differing ideas. It is not true that there is peace among men on Earth, and I cannot sing against my conviction! I observe the difference between those we sing of and those on Earth. This difference is too large for my feelings, and I can no longer stand this contradiction.”
The archangel studied him in silence for a long time, engrossed in thought. It was as if he was listening to a higher directive. Then he nodded and began to speak:
“It seems that you suffer from the conflict between Heaven and Earth, between the high and the low. So know this: That this very conflict was bridged on that night. This child, who was born and whose future you are worried about, was to end the conflict and bring peace to all the people of the world. That is why we sing, even though people do not yet hear and understand this mystery and all its implications. We do not drown out the conflict with our singing, as you might think. We sing a new song.”
The little angel exclaimed, “If that is the case, I am happy to sing.”
The archangel shook his head and said, “You will take on another service. You will not go back up with us. From today, you will carry the peace of God and of this child to the people. You will be on the road day and night. You shall knock at their homes and put in their hearts their longing for him. You have to be prepared for their defiant and lengthy negotiations and enter into the midst of the clutter of opinions and threats. You have to expose their hypocritical words and make others suspicious of such false arguments. They will show you the door, but you will sit on the thresholds and wait tenaciously. You have to take the innocent under your wing and forward their cries to us. You will not have anything to sing of. But you will have much to cry and complain about. You asked for this. You love the truth more than the praise of God. This feature of your being now becomes your mission.
“And now, go. Our singing will accompany you so that you never forget that peace which was born that night.”
The little angel was at first smaller, and then, without him noticing, he began to grow larger and larger. And then he set foot on the fields of Bethlehem. He walked with the shepherds to the child in the manger and opened their hearts so that they understood what they saw. Then he went into the wide world and began his work.
Challenged and wounded again and again, he has been doing his duty ever since, ensuring that the yearning for peace never disappears, but grows. This yearning troubles people, urging them to seek and create peace. Those who open themselves to him and help him suddenly hear – as if from a distance – a chorus, which encourages him to continue the work of peace among men.
We hope you enjoyed our little angel story and you also read between the lines as well.
To all readers of our website, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2020.
Thank you for your continued and ever-growing support.
We wish you peace.
Our reaction to the most recent press reports about the Essen lawsuit for higher pain and suffering compensation
Whether the letters from Lufthansa were a statement to the Essen district court or to the plaintiff survivors eludes our knowledge. The fact is that on 12 and 13 August 2019 there were extensive press releases by the leading media on this topic. The letter from Lufthansa suggests that the passengers were not aware of the eventual crash and thus would not have experienced any fear of dying. Instead, they claim that the passengers would have experienced the event as a normal descent.
Would Lufthansa have us believe that during the captain’s alleged absence from the cockpit he would have interpreted such a descent in same way? After all, this absence took five minutes until the first six knocking sounds recorded by the cockpit voice recorder (from 09.30 to 09.35, according to the BEA report).
It is not proven and so is only assumed that the captain had gone the toilet, and it is also not proven that it was he who knocked on the cockpit door (it might well have been a flight attendant), since there are no video recordings from in front of the cockpit door.
Another scenario: The Germanwings aircraft had no visual barrier (i.e., a curtain) blocking the view of the area immediately in front of the cockpit door. Thus, passengers would have easily witnessed what was occurring at the cockpit door. Then one would suspect that at least some passengers would have made pictures or videos of the events with mobile phones or cameras. In this case, there would be documented evidence of what was happening in the aircraft and, combined with the descent, passengers would likely have guessed and feared an impending crash and their deaths.
According to the information provided by victims’ lawyers, these devices were returned to the relatives with all images deleted, thus removing possibly critical evidence …
Now, in the autumn of 2019, a hearing will be held before the district court of Essen concerning the claims for compensation of the survivors. The payment amount should be based on the suffering of the passengers in the last few minutes before the fatal crash of the Germanwings aircraft.
In order to reach a fair judgment, the judges of the district court of Essen would actually have to demand and review the cockpit voice recorder as necessary evidence, but even more vital would be the images and video recordings from the mobile devices and cameras, provided they are available from the investigating authorities.
Pain and suffering compensation – an elastic term. Does money cure pain at all?
What role does the amount play?…
Between claims and reality
A Frontal 21 television report on 18 June reported on the Germanwings crash. According to its own statement, Frontal 21 claims to uncover grievances, stimulate discussions and “get to the bottom of” certain topics. But the broadcast on Germanwings demonstrated precisely the opposite: The themes were poorly researched and many statements wrong, as the examples below show.
Cockpit door locked from the inside https://andreas-lubitz.com/en/2018/08/
In the broadcast the following statement is made: “Andreas Lubitz sat alone for several minutes in the cockpit, had locked the door from the inside, locking out the flight captain”.
As we have already shown in our August 2018 article (see above link), it is verifiably established that the cockpit door was not locked from inside. It is noteworthy, however, that despite having the emergency access code crew members could not open the cockpit door. If for some reason the door is not manually unlocked from the inside, the cockpit can be opened by entering the correct code on the keypad. Mr van Beveren, who prepared an expert report on the Germanwings crash (on our behalf), had learned that shortly after the accident, hints from Germanwings insiders indicated that this keypad had already malfunctioned in an earlier incident: On the ground, the cockpit door was accidentally shut and automatically locked but could not be opened using the keypad. This is an important clue that you, Frontal 21, should have investigated.
Also, the programme says: “At first glance, Andreas Lubitz appears sporty and fit, but suffered from depression and sleep and anxiety disorders”. At the time of the crash Andreas did not suffer from depression, as prosecutor Kumpa concluded (see above link).
The closing note of the Düsseldorf prosecutor states: “On the one hand, according to the results of the investigation, there are no indications that Andreas Lubitz was mentally ill when he was hired as a flight attendant and later as a pilot at Germanwings.” And further, it was determined: “None of the treating physicians in 2014/2015 — be they psychiatric specialists or other doctors – diagnosed depression with Andreas Lubitz at that time. In addition, no physician or therapist detected suicidal thoughts or were any reported by the patient. There was also no evidence of atypical aggressive behavior.”
Andreas Lubitz did not suffer from depression at the time of the crash.
Indeed, Andreas was treated from November 2008 to April 2009 for depression, seven years before the crash, and had reported this to his employer (i.e., Lufthansa). After recovering in 2009, he was invited by the flight school to continue his training, and completed it successfully. In all broadcasts so far the question is always raised about how someone with such an illness could be allowed into the cockpit. Unsurprisingly, it is brought up again by a family member in the Frontal 21 programme.
It should be said once again that Andreas had completely recovered in 2009, otherwise he would not have been able to start his training again. And let us add that as parents we would not have allowed our child to continue flying and perhaps sacrifice him as a consequence.
We have tried to explain the possible cause of his eye problem 2014/2015 in an article from October 2017 (see link above). https://andreas-lubitz.com/en/2017/10/
As it can directly affect every passenger, should not the civil aviation topic described there be given more public attention?
The Frontal 21 broadcast talks about so-called “inevitable consequences”.
It is stated that the four-eyes principle (i.e., always at least two people in the cockpit) was introduced in 2015, but as the policy went almost completely unnoticed by the flying public it was abolished two years later. Furthermore, in their final report the French investigators demand clear rules for doctors as to whether and when it is necessary to overrule “physician/patient confidentiality” without them having to fear legal consequences. Lawyer Ulrich von Jeinsen, who represents relatives, criticizes the fact that this has not happened so far. Obviously, the responsible authorities do not see any need for action and consider such new measures (also demanded by the relatives) to be unproductive. Well, perhaps a suitable measure would be to search again elsewhere for the real reasons for the crash.
All in all, this contribution by Frontal 21 was poorly researched, just a renewed rewarming of previously communicated content, and thus completely superfluous.