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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

PARIS — The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings jet repeatedly accelerated the plane, using the automatic pilot to descend the Airbus A320 into the Alps, France’s air accident investigation agency said Friday.

The BEA said investigators had begun studying the black box data recorder from the plane, found at the crash site Thursday. An initial reading of the recorder indicates that First Officer Andreas Lubitz used the automatic pilot to put the plane into a descent and then repeatedly used it to increase the aircraft’s speed.

Based on analysis of the cockpit voice recorder, investigators say Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit during a bathroom break and then intentionally crashed the plane. All 150 people aboard were killed.

German prosecutors said Thursday that Lubitz researched suicide methods online in the days before the crash, based on analysis of a tablet computer seized from his home.


— The Associated Press