On March 24, 2015, Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, a 24-year-old Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings and owned by Lufthansa, flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed approximately 52 minutes after takeoff near the remote towns of Barcelonnette and Digne-les-Bains in the French Alps. Upon preliminary investigations, officials found that the co-pilot intentionally locked the pilot in command out of the cabin and set the plane on a path to crash. The flight was carrying 150 people—144 passengers and six crew members—from 15 different countries, including three United States citizens.
It is reported that the plane descended from 38,000 feet to where air traffic control lost contact with the flight at an altitude of 6,800 feet in approximately eight minutes. Motley Rice aviation attorney and CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo believes the airline industry can do more to screen for crew member mental health, stating, “[Airlines] would have to have a program in place to psychologically, periodically, screen their pilots to make sure there are no problems; the [U.S.] FAA would approve the program, but the results of that screening remain private with the company.”
At this stage, the investigation is focusing on the psychological history of the co-pilot and what the airline could have done to avoid the crash.
Motley Rice aviation attorneys will continue to follow the developments surrounding this crash.
CNN (April 2, 2015): Could autopilot technology have saved Germanwings Flight 9525?
CNN (March 26, 2015): France plane crash: Pilot locked out of cockpit could spell ‘sinister’ act
CNN (March 25, 2015): Germanwings plane crash in French Alps: First clues
CNN (March 24, 2015): France plane crash: No survivors expected, French President says