French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that the less experienced Germanwings co-pilot was locked out of the cockpit, not the captain. The news is likely to surprise many, as details surrounding the co-pilot's significantly less logged flight hours emerged Thursday morning. Lufthansa confirmed that the Germanwings co-pilot was hired in September 2013 and had 630 hours of flying experience. The 10-year veteran pilot, now reported as the one locked inside the cockpit, had 6,000 hours flying the Airbus A320 model. Update: Le Monde has changed its initial report that the captain was the person inside the cockpit. Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said the co-pilot was the individual inside the cockpit and appeared to want to "destroy the plane."
Little information has been disclosed regarding the two pilots flying the Germanwings plane, which crashed Monday in the French Alps and killed all 144 passengers and six crew members. Lufthansa, the parent airline to Germanwings, has still not shared the names of the pilots. But more information regarding the two individuals may soon emerge due to a chilling report from the New York Times that said audio from a cockpit voice recorder revealed that one Germanwings pilot was locked out of the cockpit during the plane's descent and was unable to get back in. The harrowing details of what transpired minutes before the flight crashed has also prompted massive questions into why one pilot left and why the other pilot was left alone in the cockpit.
The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer. ... You can hear he is trying to smash the door down. ... We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out. But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.
The account is based on a senior military official who requested anonymity because he is involved with the ongoing investigation. A Lufthansa bureau spokeswoman said she could not confirm reports of a locked-out pilot, telling the Times, “Our teams continue to work on analyzing the CVR. As soon as we have accurate information we intend to hold a press conference." A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET) at Germanwings' office in Cologne, Germany.
While Lufthansa has yet to confirm a locked-out situation, or the latest report that the co-pilot was the person outside the cockpit, there are still many questions surrounding the circumstances of the crash. Whether the inside pilot was incapacitated or whether he intentionally crashed the plane is still unknown.
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