In a stunning Thursday press conference, French authorities stated they believed that the co-pilot, named as Andreas Lubitz, had deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight FU 9525. This sharply contradicts earlier theories about the plane crash, which believed the crash into the French Alps on Tuesday to be accidental. So why would Lubitz want to crash the plane, carrying 150 passengers?
His alleged motive isn't entirely clear, but given the audio released from the black box, prosecutors in France believe that the captian asked the co-pilot, Lubitz, to take over the plane while he went to the bathroom. Lubitz pressed a button that would instruct the plane to begin descending; this was probably a deliberate action, said prosecutor Brice Robin. “The intention was to destroy this plane," he explained. According to black box audio, the captain can be heard demanding to be let back into the cockpit, but the Lubitz refuses to open the door and continues to bring down the plane.
Chillingly, the audio also reveals that Lubitz breathed normally and didn't say a word during the ten minutes the plane descended, and then crashed. "We do not have sentiment that there was panic," Robin said. Ground control repeatedly tried to reach out to Lubitz, but received no response. After the crash Tuesday, U.S. authorities category believed the plane wasn't terrorism, and French authorities appear to believe the same, even with this new information: “There is no element that indicates this is a terrorist action," said Robin at the press conference.
“I can’t call this a suicide," Robin added, "but it is a legitimate question to ask.”
Here's a picture of Lubitz pulled from his allegedly real Facebook page, which has now been deleted (a cached version is available here):
In a Lufthansa press conference later Thursday, the airline giant confirmed that there were no indications whatsoever that Lubitz had any intentions of harming anybody else, let alone of crashing a plane. There were no signs that Lubitz was not fit to fly a commercial plane, the corporation said, and so nothing could seemingly have been done to prevent such a tragedy. His motive remains a "mystery," Lufthansa added.