For more than a week now, the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 has cast a tall shadow over the aviation industry and has dominated the headlines. And there's some recent news that's stirred up the speculation yet again — reports that there's a smartphone video of the flight's terrifying final moments. French authorities insist it's not real, while newspaper Paris Match (in collaboration with German newspaper Bild, according to its article) maintain the video is all too real. So, will the Germanwings crash video be leaked, or even eventually released outright?
Obviously, there's no way to know for certain, as jam-packed with variables as the whole thing is. Assuming that the video actually exists — and that seems very much an assumption at this point, given the discrepancy between what relevant authorities are saying and what Paris Match is saying — then it's a fair possibility we could end up seeing it someday. Such harrowing footage of a grisly international tragedy, after all, is bound to generate a sort of macabre interest. (In my opinion, it'd probably be a lot better if it never saw the light of day.)
It's a somewhat similar conundrum as to whether people should watch the graphic execution videos released by ISIS. Obviously there's a compelling news interest, as well as a natural human curiosity about anything that horrifying and shocking. But at the same time, one could easily argue it serves no meaningful purpose, and as such is in very poor taste to watch.
After all, just as we all learned without having to watch firsthand that American photojournalist James Foley had been slain by ISIS (like many others), reports have described what allegedly happened aboard Flight 9525 in vivid detail: co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked himself inside the cockpit while the captain Patrick Sondenheimer was in the bathroom, and steered the A320 Airbus directly into the side of a mountain, killing everyone aboard.
I'm far from willing to pass judgment on anyone about it; I guess I can only say that I wouldn't watch a video of that unfolding. Even if I wanted to, indulging that desire would make me quite uncomfortable.
But of course, whether this is a genuine video is very much uncertain, as French prosecutors have reportedly denied its existence, further saying that if it did exist, they ought to be in possession of it. As detailed by The Guardian, Lufthansa (the parent company airline of Germanwings) also raised doubts about the claim, stating that it would be unusual for a mobile device to have survived the wreck.
We have also read of reports in a French newspaper about the video. But we have not seen the video and we do not know if it exists. Therefore we cannot confirm if the video is genuine. Considering that everything on the plane was destroyed, it would be unusual for a mobile phone to survive the impact.
It's important to be clear on just what Paris Match is claiming — it's not saying they have the video in its possession, but simply that it's seen it. So basically, if it even exists, it's allegedly not actually in the hands of any media organization, making the chances of it ever surfacing seem even more remote.
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