Video from inside Germanwings cabin found, reports claim

Local media say footage of plane shortly before crash discovered at Alps site

German newspaper Bild and French magazine Paris Match said their reporters have been shown a video that was taken by someone inside the cabin of the Germanwings plane shortly before it crashed in the Alps.

Both periodicals reported that the video was found on a memory chip that could have come from a mobile phone. Paris Match said the footage was found “among the wreckage by a source close to the investigation”.

Lt Col Jean-Marc Menichini, a high ranking official involved in the recovery operation, categorically denied that any mobile phone footage had been found by investigators at the site.

Paris Match reported that “you can hear cries of ‘My God’ in several languages” and metallic banging, perhaps of the pilot trying to open the cockpit door with a heavy object”. It said the screaming intensified towards the end, after a heavy shake.


Bild said that “even though the scene on board is chaotic and completely shaky, and no individual person can be identified, the accuracy of the video is beyond question”.

Lubitz’s depression

The pilot believed to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings plane into the Alps last week had told officials at Lufthansa’s flight training school that he had suffered from severe depression, the airline said.

Lufthansa's CEO had previously said the company was not aware of anything that could have driven the co-pilot to crash the Airbus A320 into the French Alps, and that he was completely fit to fly.

Lufthansa said Andreas Lubitz broke off his pilot training for a period of several months but then passed medical checks confirming his fitness to fly.

When he resumed training in 2009, he provided the flight school with medical documents showing that he had gone through a “previous episode of severe depression”, Lufthansa said, citing email correspondence between Lubitz and the flight school.

Dusseldorf state prosecutors said on Monday that Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies before getting his pilot’s licence.

The prosecutors have given no dates for Lubitz’s treatment, but said visits to doctors since then showed no record of any suicidal tendencies or aggression against others.

Last week prosecutors found torn-up sick notes showing that Lubitz was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him. Germanwings said it had not received a sick note from Lubitz for the day of the crash.

Lufthansa said it had passed the email correspondence and additional documents to the Dusseldorf prosecutors after internal investigations.

Lawyers representing some of the families of the victims of the Germanwings crash have already called for more psychiatric testing of pilots.

DNA identification

At the crash site in the French Alps, investigators said they hope to have found DNA samples for everyone killed on the flight in the next 24 hours.

Lt Col Jean-Marc Menichini, speaking in the town of Le Vernet, said the search was still on for the plane’s second black box - its data recorder.

All 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps could be identified by the end of the week.

Earlier today, the head of the criminal research institute at France’s national gendarmerie was reported as saying that DNA identification of the victims would take two to four months.

But at a news conference in Berlin, French president Francois Hollande said: "The French interior minister confirmed that by the end of the week at the latest it will be possible to identify all of the victims, thanks to DNA samples."

German investigators tasked with identifying the victims and determining their cause of death are expected at the crash site on Wednesday.

Lufthansa costs

As the grim task of searching through the wreckage continued, Germanwings parent airline Lufthansa said its insurers were setting aside about €279 million to deal with possible costs resulting from the disaster.

Lufthansa spokeswoman Kerstin Lau said that is the amount reserved to deal with “all costs arising in connection with the case”.

Lufthansa was already facing unlimited liability for damages in the crash.

Last week, the company offered immediate aid of up to €50,000 per passenger to relatives of the victims.

Those payments are separate from any eventual compensation payments over the Airbus A320 crash, which cockpit voice recordings suggest was deliberately caused by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.

Lufthansa said that out of respect for the victims it was cancelling festivities for the 60th anniversary of the airline, which were to have taken place on April 15th.

Instead, the company will provide a live broadcast for its employees of the official state memorial service in Cologne Cathedral on April 17th, which will be attended by bereaved families.

Agency investigation

With Lubitz having been treated for suicidal tendencies, France’s air accident investigation agency, the BEA, is examining cockpit entry and psychological screening procedures following the crash.

The BEA said its investigation was aiming to provide a “detailed analysis” of flight data.

It also said it would be studying “systemic weaknesses” that could have led to the crash.

French prosecutors are carrying out a separate crash probe to pinpoint possible criminal wrongdoing.

Reuters and PA