Still hard to believe anyone would do such a thing.
Dramatic recordings from the Germanwings flight’s black box have revealed the captain’s desperate attempts to break into the cockpit to regain control of the plane.
According to transcripts published today, captain Patrick Sondheimer screamed ‘Open the goddamn door!’ as his killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew the aircraft into an Alpine ravine after he had left to go to the toilet.
Yesterday, it was revealed that Lubitz was living ‘on the edge’ because he feared that his deteriorating blurred vision would cost him his pilot’s licence.
Lubitz is believed to have locked his captain out after the senior officer left the flight deck, and used the flight managing system to put the plane into a descent, something that can only be done manually – and deliberately.
A transcript published in today’s edition of the German newspaper Bild, reveals that the chilling recording starts with captain Sondheimer apologising to passengers for a 26-minute delay in Barcelona, and promising to make up the time on the flight to Dusseldorf.
In the next 20 minutes, Sondheimer converses with co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who tells him he can go to the toilet at any time and he will take over the controls, noting that the pilot didn’t go to the lavatory in Barcelona.
At 10.27am, the airliner reaches its cruising altitude of 38,000ft. The pilot prompts his first officer to prepare for the landing in Dusseldorf.
The French prosecutors described Lubitz’s replies as ‘laconic’, and he is heard using words such as ‘hopefully’ and ‘we’ll see’.
After the checks for landing, Lubitz says to Sondheimer again: ‘You can go now.’
The pilot lets another two minutes elapse, then he says to Lubitz: ‘You can take over.’
There is the sound of a seat being pushed back and the snap of a door.
At 10.29am the flight radar monitors the plane descending.
At 10.30am it is down by 316ft, and just a minute later, it is down 1,800ft. At 10.32am air traffic controllers try to contact the aircraft, but get no response.
In the plane, the automatic alarm signal ‘Sink Rate’ sounds almost at the same time, according to the voice recorder.
Shortly afterwards there is a loud bang, which sounds like someone trying to enter the cockpit. Sondheimer yells: ‘For God’s sake, open the door!’
In the background, passengers can be heard screaming.
At 10.35am ‘loud, metallic banging against the cockpit door’ is heard again, according to the French authorities. The jet is still 7,000ft above the ground.
About 90 seconds later there is a new warning message – ‘Ground! Pull up! Pull up!’
The pilot is heard shouting: ‘Open the goddamn door!’
At 10.38am, with its engines racing, the aircraft is on a north-east course over the French Alps. The breathing of Lubitz can be heard in the cockpit but he says nothing.
Read more: Daily Mail