SISTERON, France — The father of one of the victims of this week's plane crash in the French Alps called Saturday for airlines to take greater care over pilots' welfare.
Prosecutors say they believe German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately slammed the Germanwings aircraft into a mountain, and that he hid an illness from his employers — including a sick note for the day of the crash.
"I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," said Philip Bramley, from Hull in northern England. "We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands."
His 28-year-old son, Paul Bramley, was one of 150 people killed in Tuesday's disaster. Speaking near the site of the crash, Philip Bramley said Lubitz's motive was irrelevant. "What is relevant, is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever," he said.
Germanwings, the Lufthansa subsidiary that Lubitz joined in 2013, declined Saturday to comment when asked whether the company was aware of any health problems he might have had. But it said he had passed all required medical check-ups.
Aviation experts say those checks are stringent, but focus mainly on physical health. A pilot's mental state is usually only assessed once, before companies decide whether to admit them to a training program — and even then a determined person could hide a latent problem.
Lufthansa said pilots are required to pass an annual medical test overseen by the German Federal Aviation Office, but the company itself doesn't perform checks on its staff and relies on them to report any problems.
German prosecutors, who have been trying to determine what caused Lubitz to take such a devastating decision, met with their French counterparts Saturday to discuss the preliminary findings of their investigation. Duesseldorf prosecutors say Lubitz hid evidence of an illness from his employers — including a torn-up doctor's note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525.
- Andreas Lubitz, Germanwings Co-Pilot, May Have Had Vision Problem: Report
- Patrick Sonderheimer Named as Captain in Germanwings Plane Crash
- Could Better Screening Catch Suicidal Pilots?