GERMANWINGS CRASH

Probe begins to determine why co-pilot crashed Germanwings plane

Searches begin at properties used by the co-pilot of the Airbus A320, Andreas Lubitz The German is thought to have deliberately flown the plane into a mountainside

Police carry objects out of the home of the parents of Andreas Lubitz on Thursday.
Police carry objects out of the home of the parents of Andreas Lubitz on Thursday.Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

The public prosecutor in Düsseldorf, in west Germany, has begun searching for clues as to why Andreas Lubitz, the 27-year-old co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings flight, would have deliberately flown an Airbus A320 into a mountainside in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

That was the explanation for the accident given by Brice Robin, the prosecutor in the French city of Marseille, who addressed reporters on Thursday to outline the conclusions reached by investigators based on the voice recordings of one of the black boxes from the aircraft.

The second flight recorder, which has still not been located by recovery teams, will clear up any doubts about the technical data of the accident. But by this point they seem unimportant. Now that the how of the accident is known, what’s left to find out is why.

From the start, German police have been investigating the life and movements of the co-pilot

German police on Thursday spent several hours searching both Lubitz’s home in Düsseldorf and the house he shared with his parents in Montabaur, news agency EFE reports. As local news reports showed, officers left with bags and boxes from both the properties used by the young German pilot.

The searches were ordered by the prosecutor in Düsseldorf, who explained in a statement that his objective was to collect “personal documents” belonging to the co-pilot in an attempt to clear up the reasons that could have prompted him to crash the plane, which was carrying mostly passengers from Germany and Spain.

From the start, German police have been investigating the life and movements of the co-pilot. The country’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has revealed that the authorities have been investigating since Tuesday whether any of the members of the crew – the two pilots and four air stewards – had any connection with Islamist terrorism. “We have checked everything and the results are negative,” he said. “And that includes the co-pilot.” For the minister there is no indication of a terrorist background to the co-pilot’s actions.

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