The Germanwings co-pilot who killed 150 people in the French Alps crash in March, had previously practised reducing a flight’s altitude on an outbound flight, the same day as the crash.
The BEA, France’s air accident investigation agency, is expected to publish an interim report on the crash on Wednesday morning. Bild, citing sources close to the inquiry, said the report would reveal that Lubitz had practised reducing flight altitude on the outbound flight the same day as the crash.
The preliminary report found that Lubitz put the Airbus A-320, operated by the Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings, into “a controlled but unjustified flight descent for several minutes”. According to Bild, the report suggests Lubitz may have wanted to crash the plane on its outbound journey from Düsseldorf.
“It cannot be ruled out that [Lubitz] not only wanted to practise [crashing the plane] during the outward flight, but to actually carry out this act,” the report concludes, says Bild.
After the crash, German investigators discovered that Lubitz, 27, had been signed off sick by his doctor on the day of the tragedy. He had suffered from severe depression in the past and a computer found in his home showed he had used the internet to research suicide methods in the days leading up to the crash.
The cockpit voice recorder found in the wreckage in a rocky ravine in the French Alps showed Lubitz had locked the captain, Patrick Sondheimer, out of the flight deck after his colleague left to use the lavatory. He then put the plane’s automatic pilot into a controlled descent, increasing the speed of the Airbus several times as it dropped. Sondheimer can be heard trying to smash his way in, shouting: “Open the damned door.” Seconds later, the aircraft ploughed into the mountain.
The BEA report will be published at midday French time on Wednesday.