According to a recent report by USA Today, the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps a week ago leaving 150 people dead, (click here if you missed it), previously mentioned to his flight school in 2009 that he had suffered a “serious episode of severe depression,” airlines officials said Tuesday.
The parent company of Germanwings, Lufthansa, confirmed that a note was found in emails sent by Andreas Lubitz to the Lufthansa’s flight school when he returned to training. The documents also included other medical information Lubitz provided to the Flight Training Pilot School in 2009 to allow him resume his flight training, Lufthansa said.
“Thereafter the co-pilot received the medical certificate confirming his fitness to fly,” Lufthansa said in a statement.
David Gregory, Dorothy Day Professor of Law & Executive Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at St. John’s University however feels that some level of gross negligence was made:
“This is the single most outrageous situation I’ve encountered in 33 years as a law professor. There is every indication of criminal gross negligence, and some person or persons may be criminally prosecuted as a result of this admission, posing the possibility of damages in numbers that could threaten the very future of the airline.
“This was not an accident or a situation where a tire blew out. This was a deliberate decision to take the very last person qualified to fly this plane and allow him to be alone in the cockpit.”
On Monday, Duesseldor prosecutors also revealed that Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies years ago and in most recent times was deemed “unable to fly.” Christoph Kumpa, spokesman for Düesseldorf prosecutors, said Lubitz, 27, had received psychotherapy several years ago before obtaining his pilot’s license. However, Germanwings officials and parent Lufthansa had not directly addressed the issue of whether they were aware of Lubitz’s therapy, because of confidentiality of medical records.
Kumpa also said physicians had found Lubitz unfit to fly in recent months, though it was not clear why, but he had not displayed any suicidal tendencies or aggressive behavior and had no apparent physical illness.