Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images(DÜSSELDORF, Germany) — A German pilot who recently flew with the co-pilot accused by French prosecutors of deliberately crashing a Germanwings plane said he seemed like a “normal guy,” and he “had plans for the future.”
French prosecutors have said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately slammed the passenger plane into a mountain on Tuesday. Authorities have since said he hid evidence of an illness from his employers, including a sick note that was found torn up inside his apartment in Dusseldorf dated from the day of the crash.
Frank Woiton, a Germanwings pilot, told German TV station WDR that he saw nothing unusual about Lubitz when he flew with him less than a month ago.
“The impression that I got was that he was a normal guy,” Woiton said. “He had plans for the future. He wanted to fly long distance flights for Lufthansa.”
German State Prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said on Friday that “a torn-up current sick note … valid for the day of the incident” had been found inside Lubitz’s apartment in Dusseldorf, adding that it “would — according to preliminary evaluation — support the assumption that the [pilot] had concealed his illness towards his employer and his occupational environment.”
Kumpa said the note found indicated Lubitz, 27, “was declared by a medical doctor unfit to work.”
The disclosure of torn medical documents at the co-pilot’s home came shortly before Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, announced that it would be changing company policy to require two “authorized persons” remain in the cockpit at all times during the flight, in light of the finding that Lubitz apparently stopped the captain from re-entering the cockpit and forced the plane to crash.
In addition to the findings suggesting Lubitz was hiding an illness, a search of his apartment in Dusseldorf yielded no suicide note and the city’s prosecutor announced that there was no evidence that political or religious factors were involved in the crash.
The New York Times reported that Lubitz sought treatment for vision problems that may have put his future as a pilot at risk, two officials with knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper.
It’s unclear how severe the eye problems were but one official with knowledge of the investigation hadn’t ruled out that it was caused or enhanced by psychological factors, the Times reported.
ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.
Dusseldorf University Hospital said Lubitz was a patient there and his last visit was two weeks before the crash. The hospital denied that the treatment was related to depression, but they have handed over all of his medical records to German investigators.
During a news conference on Thursday, the Lufthansa CEO said that Lubitz had undergone a medical examination that included a psychological evaluation before being hired in 2013 but, unlike physicals, mental evaluations are not required annually.
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