Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, thought to have deliberately crashed an airliner in the French Alps last week, in 2009 reported to the Lufthansa flight school the fact that he had overcome a “serious depressive episode,” the German airline has said.
Lufthansa revealed the new information in a communique on Tuesday after conducting an internal investigation and sending German prosecutors additional documents about Lubitz’s training and medical history, Efe news agency reported.
After French authorities zeroed in on the 27-year-old German co-pilot as the perpetrator of the tragedy that claimed 150 lives, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr reported that Lubitz had interrupted his flight training for a time in 2009 but did not clarify what his motives were.
The airline emphasised that, after the hiatus lasting several months, doctors issued a medical certificate declaring Lubitz was in mental and physical shape to fly.
In the documents provided by Lufthansa to German authorities is an exchange of emails between Lubitz and the flight school where he went to resume his training.
In the emails, the co-pilot provided medical documents that reflected that he had overcome that serious episode of depression, Lufthansa said on Tuesday, reiterating its commitment to cooperate with and support the investigation in all ways.
Last Tuesday’s doomed flight from Barcelona in Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany was operated by Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings.
German daily Bild reported earlier on Tuesday that investigators in Germany were developing a hypothesis that Lubitz crashed the plane in desperation, fearing that he could lose his pilot’s licence due to a medical condition.
“The main reason for us right now is that Lubitz was afraid of losing his flying license because of his poor health,” an investigator told Bild, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Lubitz would have had to renew his licence in June, according to various reports.
Bild reported that the co-pilot was admitted to Dusseldorf University Hospital at least three times in February and March.
The German federal prosecutor said on Monday that prior to getting his pilot’s licence, Lubitz underwent psychotherapy for “suicidal tendencies.”
But Bild also said on Sunday that Lubitz was being treated for a possible detached retina.
Separately, Bild said on Tuesday that a video recovered from among the debris of the Germanwings plane recorded the last seconds inside the aircraft passenger cabin before the crash.
The newspaper said that it was able to view the recording, along with French magazine Paris Match, and added that there is no room for doubt about its authenticity, although the images are moving and nobody in it can be identified.
The video, recovered by a person close to the investigation, Bild said, was recorded in the tail section of the plane — it is not known whether by a passenger or crew member — and shows a chaotic scene in which passengers can be heard screaming “My God!” in various languages.
In addition, at least three metallic blows are heard, which Bild said could be from the attempt by the pilot to force his way into the cockpit where Lubitz had locked himself in.
The daily does not say how the video was recorded, although it published an interview with a cellphone expert who explained that even though the device might be destroyed, information could still be recovered from the interior chip or video card.