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Pastor Says Montabaur Stands by Family of Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz

Prosecutors blame the 27-year-old co-pilot for causing the plane crash that killed 150 people in southern France.
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/ Source: NBC News

The pastor of the Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz's hometown said Sunday that the community stands by him and his family, even though prosecutors blame the 27-year-old co-pilot for causing the plane crash that killed 150 people in southern France.

The town of Montabaur has been rattled by the revelation that Lubitz, who first learned to fly at a nearby glider club, may have intentionally caused Tuesday's crash of Germanwings Flight 9525.

"For us, it makes it particularly difficult that the only victim from Montabaur is suspected to have caused this tragedy, this crash — although this has not been finally confirmed, but a lot is indicating that — and we have to face this," the Rev. Michael Dietrich said. He spoke to The Associated Press after holding a church service Sunday to commemorate the crash victims and support their families.

"The co-pilot, the family belong to our community, and we stand by this, and we embrace them and will not hide this, and want to support the family in particular," Dietrich said. He added that he had no direct contact with the family at the moment but knew Lubitz as a teenager and his mother, who worked as a part-time organist in the community.

"I know her and her family. This does not make sense," Dietrich said. "It is incomprehensible for me, for us, for everyone who knew her and the family."

Authorities are trying to understand what made Lubitz lock his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and ignore his pleas to open the door before slamming the plane into a mountain on what should have been a routine flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

The Sunday edition of Germany's leading Die Welt newspaper reported that police found "clear" evidence of a "psychosomatic illness" and uncovered several medications prescribed for psychological illness in the co-pilot's apartment.

Tests on the co-pilot's body may provide clues to any medical treatment he was receiving. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said Sunday that none of the bodies recovered so far have been identified but that investigators have isolated 78 "distinct" samples of DNA from the crash site.


— The Associated Press