The Germanwings co-pilot believed to have deliberately slammed a passenger plane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board, appeared quiet and "normal" just weeks before the crash — and even had plans for his future, according to a pilot who flew with Andreas Lubitz just weeks before Tuesday’s crash.
"I had a quiet, normal notion of him," Germanwings pilot Frank Woiton told German broadcaster WDR on Saturday. The two flew together three or four weeks ago, he said.
"He said that he is happy to fly for Lufthansa that he wants to fly long distance that he wants to become A380-pilot," Woiton said in the interview, referring to the Airbus A380, which are the largest passenger planes. The two talked about being from the same town of Montabaur, Germany, he said.
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Lubitz, 27, is believed to have locked his pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally steered an Aribus A320 passenger jet into the mountains Tuesday morning.
Lubitz left no suicide note, but German prosecutors said they found torn-up doctor's notes excusing him from work while searching his home. Investigators have not said whether the nature of the medical memo was mental or physical. Germanwings has said it did not receive a sick note for the day of the crash.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed sources, reported Saturday that Lubitz was also seeking treatment for vision problems — and while those reports did not say how severe those problems were, they potentially could have put at risk his ability to remain a pilot. The reports could not be verified by NBC News.
The father of one of the victims said Saturday that airlines should dedicate more concern to the welfare of their pilots. "I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," said Philip Bramley, whose son, Paul Bramley, was killed in Tuesday's crash.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Thursday that his "firm confidence in the selection of our pilots, in the training of our pilots, in the qualification of our pilots, in the work of our pilots" had not been shaken by the tragedy.
Woiton said that Lufthansa had a "very high security standard," which includes an "unfit to fly rule" that allows for pilots to take time off if they don't feel physically or emotionally well enough to pilot a plane.
— Elisha Fieldstadt