The second black box from the doomed flight 9525 confirmed Andreas Lubitz deliberately accelerated the Germanwings plane while he used automatic pilot to crash into the French Alps, authorities said. Investigators had begun to study flight data from the black box since it was found at the crash site on Thursday. All 150 people on board the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Germany, including Lubitz, were killed.
The French BEA Agency investigating the crash said in a statement on Friday that officials had begun studying data inside the second black box soon after it was discovered in the mountains. Preliminary readings showed that Lubitz caused the plane to descend as it increased speed. The statement read:
The first reading shows that the pilot in the cockpit used the automatic pilot to descend the plane towards an altitude of 100 feet (30 meters). Then, several times during the descent, the pilot changed the automatic pilot settings to increase the aircraft's speed.
BEA also said it would be "continuing to determine the precise sequence of events during the flight." Before the second black box was found, authorities had said that only information from the flight data black box could confirm what technically happened to the plane during its eight-minute descent. For nine days, officials hunted for the elusive box hidden among scattered plane debris.
Audio from the plane's voice recorder, which was found shortly after the plane crashed on March 24, had previously suggested that the 27-year-old co-pilot intentionally flew the plane into the ground. The voice recorder revealed that the captain, Patrick Sondenheimer, was locked out of the cockpit and begged to be let back in. Lubitz is not heard on the recording.