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German co-pilot was once treated for suicidal tendencies

21 Comments
By FRANK JORDANS and CHRISTOPH NOELTING

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21 Comments
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Shocking and sad. That 8 minutes for all aboard must have been hell hearing the pilot screaming to the copilot to open the door.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now this seems to have become very complicated with more and more clear negligence. So sad for the victims who Lubitz was murdered.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A key question is who will pay for the apparent negligence, financially. The analysis of a complicated crash scene is involving a huge amount of public resources. Will Lufthansa and their insurance companies have to cover all the costs or is this another example of externalization, where a corporation enjoys profits but passes on losses to tax payers?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Over all a horrible situation, now Germany, Lufthansa, etc...will have to ANSWER many, many questions, not only German Wings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Truly awful chain of events. It seems a number of people had pieces of the puzzle-- bouts of depression, claims he would one day do something spectacular to be remembered and change the system, locking a girlfriend in a room for 24 hours, suicidal thoughts-- but they were never able to get together and complete the picture. Well, until after he gave the world a reason to look into his private life. On the other hand, if you're not quite sure what you should be looking for or even IF you should be looking, it makes predicting an outcome like this that much more difficult. There will have to be some kind of systemic changes but it's going to take a while to sort through what they should be or should entail. Just horrible.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stupid system when one can simply not tell his employeer he is unfit to fly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I agree with that! If a doctor diagnoses someone as mentally unfit to fly it would be a lot better to tell the company instead of relying on the pilot to do so. Catastrophically stupid not to have been able to do that in this case.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What, he couldn't jump of a bridge or take an overdose or slit his wrists like normal suicides do?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

He should have been grounded long time ago. I do not call that suicidal. I call it genocidal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What has privacy laws to do with a profession, where a healthy mental constitution? The airline could just inquire to the doctor revealing the guidelines of the airline, the Doctor can just say the applicant is not suitable for the job without revealing his mental problems, Does weak eyesight also fall under the privacy laws?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

MarkG: "So sad for the victims who Lubitz was murdered."

There are those out there, and on this site, who think that because of mental problems it is not the fault of the person who killed others, but the fault of the disease. So while I think it's perfectly to be angry at the man and call him a murderer, some on here like Strangerland and Novenchama would object to it.

This is also negligence, either by the company or the doctors, or both. I understand privacy concerns, but someone who has such thoughts can clearly be said to be a potential danger to others, ESPECIALLY in such an industry, and he should not have been allowed to get this job (or at least not to fly with the company, if allowed to work there in some other capacity). If someone is talking about suicidal tendencies and a doctor or others take no precautions, they are in part to blame because that person is a danger to themselves and others, be it a person piloting a plane, a driver of another vehicle, a mother of an infant or young child, or anyone else.

I'm quite sure that from now on there will be no more 'privacy' concerns of this nature, but that doesn't help the fact that it comes too late in this instance. Truly sad.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It was also reported that anti-depressant medication was found in his room. Such medication is known to be no more effective than a placebo for mild to moderate depression, and a known potential side effect of such medication is suicide! This case reeks of criminal negligence on the part of the medical profession, the government licencing agency, and the air line industry.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

'How could someone once diagnosed with suicidal tendencies get a job as a commercial pilot, entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people?'

Because the very thought of someone intelligent, driven and so dedicated; feeling his life along with others had no value is unthinkable.

This fits the criteria of "Black Swan Events".* In this case an incident outside the lines of logic used in constructing post 9/11 security protocols and physical doors on the A330 by all airlines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only unthinkable if we ignore SilkAir flight 185 (1997: 104 fatalities), the Air Botswana incident (1999: 1 fatality), Egypt Air flight 990 (1999: 217 fatalities), LAM flight 470 (2013: 33 fatalities), etc.

Not 'incomprehensible' or 'unforeseeable', either (words translated from politicians' and bureaucrats' statements).

When regulatory bodies put more value on employees' rights than the lives of passengers, this is bound to happen once in a while.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_by_pilot

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pilots with such treatments should not drive airplanes, really.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If someone is talking about suicidal tendencies and a doctor or others take no precautions, they are in part to blame because that person is a danger to themselves and others, be it a person piloting a plane, a driver of another vehicle, a mother of an infant or young child, or anyone else.

As about 30% of teens get what is called "depression", many young mothers get PPD, and that could be 75% of people at some point of their life, you'd prevent at least half of the population of driving and having families ? Sounds convenient.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As I said elsewhere, there was a breakdown in the system. Either the truth about this guy was never released or it was swept under the rug.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Still, there is too much speculation here. It is unknown whether the sick leave certificate had anything to do with his mental illness. The kind of illness is not written on the certificate. Furthermore, it is unknown whether the doctor who treated him knew anything about his job. Health insurance data does not typically include the profession.

Prosecutors in Duesseldorf, where Lubitz had an apartment, said the psychotherapy occurred over an extended period before he received his pilot’s license, and that medical records referred to “suicidal tendencies.” They provided no dates.

When it was before he received his pilot's license, then probably doctors didn't know anything about his future profession. Whom should they have warned and how?

All pilots must undergo regular medical checks that include a cursory psychological evaluation, according to Dr. Hans-Werner Teichmueller, the agency’s head. But such tests rely on patients being honest with their doctors, and even a seriously mentally unstable person would have been able to put a “mask” on for the investigation, he said.

The key point is that without cooperation of the pilot, medical evaluations will find anything but the most extreme cases. Is there any incentive for the pilot to cooperate? His career will fail and then...? To me, it looks like pilots have every reason to hide mental illness from their employer. How can we win over pilots to cooperate?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The airline did not know, but clearly should've known. Vicarious Liability. Wonder how much each family (of the victims) will average out from germanwings in the end.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone thats depressed shouldnt be flying simply because they cannot concentrate properly. I dont see much of a link between depression and mass murder. If there was wouldnt be too many people left on the planet. Something else going on with this person psychologically . Most depressed people only hurt or harm themselves in direct terms.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Imagine if we had access to a pilot's psychiatric history while booking flights..

I fear that this sad event may actually deter pilots from releasing information about their psychiatric history and seeking help to begin with for fear of being diagnosed with a disorder that prevents them from working. This will be a very difficult problem to solve, but developing enhanced cockpit security measures and new algorithms to prevent in-flight catastrophes may provide benefit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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