German prosecutors said on Thursday they believed the copilot who crashed a Germanwings plane in the French Alps last week had searched on a computer for ways to commit suicide shortly before the crash, which killed 150 people.
In a statement, prosecutors in his home town of Duesseldorf said the computer, found in his home, also showed searches on cockpit doors and safety precautions related to them.
They said Andreas Lubitz had also “looked for information on ways to commit suicide” in computer searches that took place between March 16 and March 23, one day before the crash.
“On at least one day, the person had for several minutes undertaken searches related to cockpit doors and their safety precautions,” it added.
The disclosure feeds into an acceleration of the multiple investigations into the crash of the German airliner as police in the French Alps said they had found the plane’s second black box cockpit recorder.
The second black box, or flight data recorder, contains hundreds of parameters taken from the Airbus A320.
France’s BEA aviation investigators yesterday said that the second black box indicated that the copilot deliberately crashed the airplane.
“A first reading shows that the pilot in the cockpit used the automatic pilot to put the airplane on a descent towards an altitude of 100 feet,” the BEA investigation office said in a statement.
“Then several times the pilot modified the automatic pilot settings to increase the speed of the airplane as it descended,” it added.
Robin said on Friday last week that preliminary evidence from the cockpit voice recorder, which was quickly recovered from the scene, suggested that 27-year-old Lubitz crashed the jet on purpose after barricading himself at the controls.
Investigators are still trying to work out the motive for which Lubitz would lock the door and apparently deliberately steer the aircraft into a mountainside.
German daily Bild reported on Thursday that Lubitz had allegedly lied to doctors, telling them he was on sick leave rather than flying commercial planes.
Germanwings parent Lufthansa has come under pressure to explain what it knew about his condition.
It said this week that when Lubitz resumed pilot training in 2009, he provided the flight school with medical documents showing he had gone through a “previous episode of severe depression.”
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