After days of speculation, reports from officials close to the investigation say Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was a mental health patient at the time he crashed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps, killing 149 passengers and crew. But these officials are not the only ones claiming to have undisclosed information about the troubled 27-year-old German pilot. In an interview with the German daily Bild published Saturday morning, Lubitz's former girlfriend also confirmed some of these reports, saying he was in psychiatric treatment and had recently said some disturbing things alluding to suicide or worse.
Lubitz's ex-girlfriend, who's only identified as Maria W., reportedly told Bild that when she heard about the tragic plane crash, she remembered a chilling sentence the young pilot once said: "'One day I'll do something that will change the system, and then everyone will know my name and remember it'."
Maria W. added: "I didn't know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's obvious." She said Lubitz was in "psychiatric treatment" for mental illness, but he wouldn't talk much about it, Reuters reports.
New reports from officials also surfaced on Saturday, according to The Washington Post and Bloomberg Business. The Post reports that an official in the German prosecutor’s office in Düsseldorf said Lubitz was suffering from a "long-lasting condition." He told the news source to "read between the lines" when asked if the condition was related to the pilot's mental health.
And Bloomberg Business reports that an anonymous official close to the investigation has said Lubitz was being treated by several psychiatrists for his mental illness. The official did not say what type of illness Lubitz was enduring, only that it was "psychosomatic."
But there's still conflicting evidence over Lubitz's mental and physical health. The German pilot was indeed being treated by a local hospital, and investigators found a ripped-up doctor's note excusing Lubitz from work the day he allegedly deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 into the side of a mountain in the French Alps.
On Saturday, The New York Times also quoted two unnamed officials close to the investigation, stating that the young pilot was undergoing treatment for vision problems. The eyesight trouble may have affected his ability to fly, the officials told The Times. They added that the vision problems could also be related to Lubitz's psychiatric illness, but they didn't know for sure if the two conditions were linked.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr confirmed at a press conference earlier this week that Lubitz cleared all his mental health exams, and allegedly hid whatever illness he was being treated for from his employers. Spohr also told CNN in an interview Thursday:
We have at Lufthansa a reporting system where crew can report without being punished their own problems or they can report about problems of others without any kind of punishment. That hasn't been used either in this case, so all these safety nets we are so proud of here have not worked in this case.
Düsseldorf University Hospital has also confirmed treating Lubitz recently, but would not say for what condition due to patient-doctor confidentiality. The hospital has denied treating Lubitz for depression. His last visit to the hospital was March 10 for an undisclosed evaluation.
These new reports add to the mystery of the devastating crash, which claimed the lives of 144 passengers and six crew members, including Lubitz. High school teens, opera singers, and American tourists were among the victims.
According to French government officials who are probing the voice cockpit recorder, Lubitz deliberately locked the pilot out of the cockpit when he reconfigured the plane's autopilot, putting it on a smooth, nearly 10-minute-long descent straight into the Alps. The pilot, who was an experienced Lufthansa veteran, tried to break down the cockpit door after Lubitz refused to respond to his requests to let him inside, officials said. Why he put that plane on a chillingly straight and calm descent into the ground is still unknown, though officials hope to be getting closer to an answer.
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