MONTABAUR, Germany — The Germanwings co-pilot who is blamed for crashing a packed passenger jet into the French Alps was “simply a normal person, with no signs of any problem,” a friend told NBC News.
Officials revealed Monday that doctors had observed that Andreas Lubitz suffered suicidal tendencies before he got his pilot's license as investigations continued into why he apparently killed 149 others aboard the Airbus A320. Lubitz had subsequent follow-up appointments with doctors in which no suicidal or aggressive behaviors were recorded, prosecutors added.
“I cannot imagine that he would have done something like that, I cannot believe it,” said the friend, who asked for his name not to be published because he still works in the town where the pair grew up.
The duo attended different schools but became friendly because they used the same gym.
“I only knew him as a really friendly, nice and helpful person,” the friend added. “When I did an exercise the wrong way, he came by to me, and though then we didn’t yet know each other well, he corrected what I was doing wrong. He didn’t have to do that, but still he did ... for me that's not a clinically depressed person.”
The pair was friendly for “six or seven years” until Lubitz, 27, moved to Dusseldorf to complete his pilot training — but there were no signs of changes in behavior.
“He was not somebody who would want to attract attention to himself, instead he was just like everyone else,” the friend said. “He wasn't sad or a closed person. Simply a normal person, with no signs of any problem.”
Lubitz, who trained with Germanwings’ parent company, Lufthansa, appears to have hidden an illness from his employer, according to German prosecutors. Searches of his homes last week found torn-up doctor's notes, including one excusing him from work on March 24 — the day of the crash.
There was no sign of a claim of responsibility, a goodbye note or a suggestion of political or religious motive, prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrueck said.
“Andreas was doing marathons,” the friend said, adding that reports on Lubitz’s mental state meant that his family was “going through hell.”
“From the outside he always seemed like a really active and social person,” the friend added. “Mostly I saw him holding hands with his girlfriend. As far as I know he was planning to have a child, I mean he had a house and, with that, future plans.”
Alastair Jamieson reported from London.