Andreas Lubitz, 28, from the small town of Montabaur in Rhineland-Palatinate, was named during a press conference on Thursday as the co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525, writes Louise Osborne in Berlin.
A first officer, Lubitz had been flying for Germanwings since September 2013 after being trained with the airline’s parent company Lufthansa at its facility in Bremen. He had clocked up a total of 630 hours in the air.
Members of the Luftsportclub Westerwald, a flying club, of which Lubitz had been a member since he was a teenager in Montabaur, said it had been his dream to fly.
“Andreas became a member of the association and wanted his dream of flying to be realised. He began in the gliding school and made it to become a pilot,” read a statement on the club’s website.
Meanwhile, Lubitz was also described by neighbours as being friendly and pursuing his dreams “with vigour”. One told the local newspaper, the Rhein Zeitung that he had kept fit through running, “How often we saw him jogging past our house.”
Kim Willsher, in Paris for the Guardian, has filed a first news reporton the dramatic Marseilles press conference. Here are the opening few paragraphs.
The co-pilot of the Airbus A320 that crashed on Tuesday, killing 150 people, appears to have deliberately flown the plane into a mountain after locking the flight commander out of the cockpit.
During the last eight minutes of the flight, the co-pilot “voluntarily” carried out actions that led to the destruction of the aircraft, Brice Robin, a French public prosecutor, said at a press conference in Marseille.
Robin said the co-pilot could be heard breathing right up until the point of impact, suggesting he had not lost consciousness. However, he failed to respond to increasingly desperate calls from the commander trying to break down the cockpit door, or to air traffic controllers.
The Marseille public prosecutor is giving a press conference on the latest developments in the investigation into Tuesday’s plane crash.
Robin named the co-pilot as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz and outlined the last moments of the doomed plane in a chilling account of his actions.
“For the first 20 minutes of the flight, the pilots spoke in a normal way, you could say cheerful and courteous,” Robin said. “We heard the flight commander prepare the briefing for landing at Düsseldorf and the response of the co-pilot seemed laconic. Then we heard the commander ask the co-pilot to take the controls.
“We heard at the same time the sound of a seat being pushed back and the sound of a door closing.”
Robin said it was assumed that the flight commander needed to go to “satisfy natural needs” – in other words, use the toilet.