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/ Source: NBC News

Lufthansa's chief executive promised victims of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 that the airline would help "as long as is needed" as he visited the crash site Wednesday.

"We are learning more every day about the causes of the accident," Carsten Spohr told reporters.

However, he refused to answer questions about Lufthansa knowing about the mental health of Andreas Lubitz, who investigators believe deliberately crashed the plane. The airline said Tuesday that Lubitz had informed his flight school of a "severe period of depression" after taking a break in his pilot's training.

"I think it will take a long, long time for everybody, all of us to understand why this could happen," he said. "It was important for us to come here today to morning the victims to express deep sorrow here in these mountains, as close as possible to the crash site."

He also thanked the "hundreds of people who have done an outstanding work over the last week," praising their "professionalism, their energy their empathy” and “sympathy” as they worked in “dangerous” conditions.

"I would like to also give my word to the victims — we don’t only help this week, we will help as long as is needed. That is my promise.”

Spohr added that there were "just no words to express” his sadness.

“We also know what a burden we have put on people in this area, where nothing is the same any more after March 24. To the [local] mayors we promise our support in turning these places into a place of mourning and also to restore this beautiful countryside as much as we can after the investigation has finished.”


- Alastair Jamieson