Accusations That Co-Pilot Crashed Germanwings Plane on Purpose Leave World Staggering

Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened on Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 make it crash into the French Alps, killiing the 150 people onboard. But what they have figured out so far is absolutely devasting. Investigators reportedly have come to the conclusion that one of the copilot's locked the other copilot out of the cockpit and then deliberately brought the plane on a suicide mission.

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Reportedly, the horror began when one of the copilots, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally locked his copilot out of the cockpit. Investigators say that at first, the second pilot politely knocked on the door but his knocks became more frantic as he was not let back in and the plane began to descend.

Horrifically, reports say that he was banging desperately on the door as the plane began its suicidal descent. You can only imagine what this man was going through -- actually I'm not sure any one of us could imagine. Apparently he would not be able to get back into the cockpit if the door was set to a "locked" setting from the inside -- that not even knowing the keypad combination from the outside would help.

Meanwhile, investigators say there was "absolute silence" in the cockpit as Lubitz did not radio for help. However, since recordings show he was still breathing up until the moment of impact, investigators believe he was alive and fully in control of the situation. Recordings also indicate that the pilot didn't pass out, but that the co-pilot is heard asking Lubitz  to take control of the plane and then leaving. That is when a chair is heard moving, and a door is heard closing shut.

At that point, reports say the pilot pressed buttons to begin the descent of the plane.

The Airbus, which was flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, slammed into a mountain. Passengers can be heard screaming before the crash.

The idea of this happening is absolutely horrific. The families of those who died must be even more devastated knowing this was likely done on purpose.

Investigators say that the pilot was fully fit to fly despite having taken time off in the past because of possible emotional health issues. His motives are unknown at this time, but a friend reportedly said he suffered from depression.

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While this sounds absolutely inconceivable, it is not the first time it's happened. In 1997, 104 people were killed aboard a Silk Air Flight; the pilot is strongly suspected to have gone on a suicide mission. In 1999, Egypt Air Flight 990, the copilot is suspected to have doomed the plane.

And there was suspicion that a pilot flying Malaysian Airlines MH370, which disappeared in September, was also a suicide mission, but that is just one of several theories about the still missing plane.

What can airlines do to prevent this?

Image via mark harkin/Flickr

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