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Co-pilot appears to have intentionally crashed plane, says French prosecutor

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Wow.

I truly hope this, if true, will initiate widespread mental health and background checks on every single pilot in the whole wide world.

It was bad enough wondering if you had a Islamic terrorbot on a flight, let alone the damned pilot.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

What is even more scary is this might trigger copy cat pilot suicides.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Maybe we need 3 pilots. We can talk about locks and cockpit doors, but at the end of the day the co-pilot could have also hit the pilot over the head with a fire extinguisher if his intention was to kill everyone onboard.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is very BAD!Terrible! As Madverts points out,now we do not only have to worry about Al Qaeda and all of these other crazies, but now also worry about SELFISH, SUICIDAL nutters who make it into the ranks of major AIRLINE PILOTS??? What is next?? Crazy, suicidal flight attendants???

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

True, it does appear to be deliberate as the title of the article suggests, still this is the first I have ever heard of a prosecutor making such a determination.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to BBC and other news sites, the French prosecutor are saying that after the pilot leaves (most probably to go to the toilet), they hear the co-pilot pushing flight control buttons and assume that he started the descent deliberately. They also hear from the flight recorder that he is breathing normally and did not lose consciousness.

What is even sadder is that the passengers realize what is happening in the last minute as their screams can be heard in the background before the plane crashes. It is just heartbreaking.

I am not sure what kind of controls an airliner can take for a crazy pilot crashing the plane. Even if you make them take psyc tests, these people can see normal until one day they go over the edge. Very sad indeed. RIP to the victims.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Lizz

A French procureur is an investigator, not a prosecutor as in the UK or the USA.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't get it Smoking Man.

Are you suggesting the co-pilot's atheist beliefs are what led to this murder/suicide?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's disgusting. Nobody should kill themselves, but if they're going to do it anyway, then for god's sake don't take 149 people with you as you do it...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A French procureur is an investigator, not a prosecutor as in the UK or the USA.

He is clearly overseeing a criminal, not crash, investigation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I guess it's now time to rethink security in the cockpit from the other side of the door as well. Lets hope they learn from this tragic event and put into place safety measures and protocols to reduce or even prevent altogether a re-occurrence of an event like this one. Rest in peace to the 149 innocent souls aboard.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Madverts

No. Look up the difference between common law and civil law. A prosecutor in the UK becomes involved in a case after a suspect is produced by the police, and charges need to be filed.

In France, the procureur is involved from the start of a case, investigating all possibilities. They are closer to judges than lawyers.

Heck, don't believe me; ask a French person.

Online dictionaries don't always tell the whole story.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've lived in France all my adult life.

A procureur is a public prosecutor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It seems that co-pilot commited suicide involved with all passengers and crews. Cockpit should have private toilet inside, so pilots will never leave the cockpit whatever.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Okay, let's turn it on its head. If this plane had gone down in England, or Wales, do you seriously think we'd have seen a news conference with a 'prosecutor' explaining what had happened?

No. We'd have seen an 'investigator'.

Again, you can't trust a dictionary when you start to cross cultures.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Luca,

Le mot que tu cherche est "enquêteur" .

A prosecutor, in France, is a procureur.

I've defended myself enough times to know this. Perhaps you have a new word for a public prosecutor, you know, the career ladder mounting snakes that they all are regardless of nationalité?

I'd be more than willing to submit your thoughts to the Académie Française. We all know how anally different they insist on being, there may even be job opportunities...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That ends the bickering on this point.

Cockpit should have private toilet inside, so pilots will never leave the cockpit whatever.

But, again, someone who is determined to kill will just hit the other pilot over the head with something when he's not looking.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am not sure what kind of controls an airliner can take for a crazy pilot crashing the plane. Even if you make them take psyc tests, these people can see normal until one day they go over the edge.

There is nothing that can be done. Witness this comment from the CEO of Lufthansa, “no matter your safety regulations, no matter how high you set the bar, and we have incredibly high standards, there is no way to rule out such an event,” Carsten Spohr (CEO Lufthansa, parent company Germanwings) said.

Its getting to the point where I'm seriously considering giving up travel. Thirty years ago when I first left my home country I could literally go anywhere. I wish I had known then that the world was going to go to hell and a dozen places I wanted to see were going to turn into no-go zones for folks wishing to keep their heads attached to their bodies. Nothing I can do about global politics, so reluctantly I narrow my parameters and try to stay more on the beaten path when I travel. But now its to the point that we have airliners vanishing entirely, getting blown out of the sky by rebels with access to missiles, crashing for no apparent reason, and being intentionally flown into the ground. I mean if you can't even get to the destination alive what's the use in taking precautions about where you go?

I'm completely fed up with the airline industry. Obviously as someone who has a country of origin other than Japan, I don't have the luxury of just deciding never to fly again. But I'll tell you, I'm getting close to that point. Makes me sick to think of all the people who died on MH17, MH370, TNA222 and now 4U9525. RIP.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow, this is going to be a huge lawsuit by the relatives of the victims of this tragedy murder suicide. I can't imagine the motivation of the co-pilot and was there something external going on that forced him to take that action like blackmail or threat to kill a family member of his by Jihadists?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hidingout

I read an interesting stat the other day (on the Guardian website), comparing safety records then and now:

If we had the same rate of crashes in 2015 as there were in 1971, given the massive increase in the number of flights since then, there'd be a large passenger plane going down every 41 hours.

Makes you think....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

was there something external going on that forced him to take that action like blackmail or threat to kill a family member of his by Jihadists?

Can't say I blame people for jumping to the jihadist conclusion - its so often the right conclusion. But there are other boogeymen in the world besides fanatical muslims. Hearken back if you will to the case of Anders Breivik and the "motivations" for his killing spree.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Hawkeye

Wow, this is going to be a huge lawsuit by the relatives of the victims of this tragedy murder suicide.

Seen through American-tinted glasses, maybe. I wouldn't expect it from most Europeans. Money doesn't replace a loved one.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There is nothing that can be done. Witness this comment from the CEO of Lufthansa, “no matter your safety regulations, no matter how high you set the bar, and we have incredibly high standards, there is no way to rule out such an event,” Carsten Spohr (CEO Lufthansa, parent company Germanwings) said.

You can at least require that there must be two people on the flight deck at all times, which is the protocol Malaysia Air instituted after the disappearance of its plane.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps one thing that more established airlines can do is hire slightly older pilots who's lives are a bit more stable. I would pay extra for that. I wouldn't want to board a plane with my 28 year old self at the controls.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

in the last 15months there have been 24 fatal plane crashed, 1187 deaths. despite these accidents 2014 was the lowest accident rate on record, an average of 1 accident every 4.4million flights. so flying still one of the safest transports, stats from BBC

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You can at least require that there must be two people on the flight deck at all times, which is the protocol Malaysia Air instituted after the disappearance of its plane.

I experienced this on a United flight from DC to Las Vegas last year. Once the plane was at cruising altitude, both pilots needed a restroom break. The sequence was:

Cockpit calls the flight attendants via the interphone to let them know the pilots need a potty-break. The flight attendant who was the designated emergency pilot in case a member of the cockpit crew became incapacitated moves to the front of the plane, verifies the forward toilets are unoccupied, pulls one of the drink carts from storage and turns it sideways across the aisle to prevent passenger access to the forward toilets. A second flight attendant mans the drink cart obstacle. The designated emergency pilot calls the cockpit to let them know that preparations have been made and the first pilot may open the door. The first pilot to exit opens the door and he lets the emergency pilot into the cockpit then goes to the restroom. After the first pilot is done, the pilot calls the cockpit and the Chinese Fire Drill is repeated for the second pilot. After the second pilot is done, he calls the cockpit and swaps places with the emergency pilot. The emergency pilot and the other flight attendant return the drink cart to storage and the forward toilets are available for use by passengers again.

But as has been noted, not only is there a fire extinguisher in the cockpit, but also a small hand axe for cutting out of wreckage. If a pilot "went off the deep-end", the other pilot probably would never have a chance to defend themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems like the authorities knew something was up pretty early. News articles only mentioned the captain and how many flight hours he had, nothing about the copilot. And how often do a bunch of pilots stand down in response to an accident? Were they heartbroken, or reacting to lack of information, or were they informed of findings from the CVR? Or angry because they knew the copilot and thought he was a risk and nothing was done by the airline to prevent him flying?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about a keyed entrance locking door! Pilots carry 1 key each for the flight duration.

So selfish to take 149 other with you!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What an unspeakable crime..

I'm thinking that one precaution that could be implemented is a locked autopilot system for planes during the cruise phase, that requires authorisation from both pilots and the ground to override. All plane disasters are caused by human error, time to start taking this deficiency seriously

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It has crossed my mind before in a what if scenario.... and now it has happened. Wow. For the families of the victims this like the worst kind of double whammy. Now, part me questions if a bus driver or train driver has ever done such a heinous act of suicide/murder?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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