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Patrick Sonderheimer


German police have seized possessions belonging to Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who apparently crashed his plane in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board, as they investigate his possible motives.

They said they had found a significant clue, according to media reports.

Data from the plane’s voice recorder suggest Andreas Lubitz had deliberately started a descent while the pilot was locked out of the cockpit.

Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed on March 24.

Several airlines have now pledged to change their rules to ensure at least two crew members are present in the cockpit at all times.

The revelations by the German police come after officers searched Andreas Lubitz’s flat in Duesseldorf and the house the 27-year-old shared with his parents in Montabaur, north of Frankfurt, late on Thursday.

A number of items were removed – including boxes and a computer – from the two properties.

“We have found something which will now be taken for tests. We cannot say what it is at the moment but it may be a very significant clue to what has happened,” the Daily Mail quoted police spokesman Markus Niesczery as saying.Andreas Lubitz Germanwings copilot

However, police said the discovery was not a suicide note.

There were also unconfirmed reports in the German media that Andreas Lubitz had suffered from depression.

Meanwhile, German government officials said Andreas Lubitz was not known to the country’s security services.

Earlier, Carsten Spohr, the head of Lufthansa, the German carrier that owns Germanwings, said the co-pilot had undergone intensive training and “was 100% fit to fly without any caveats”.

Carsten Spohr said Andreas Lubitz’s training had been interrupted for several months six years ago, but did not say why.

The training was resumed after “the suitability of the candidate was re-established”, he said.

On March 26, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the co-pilot appeared to want to “destroy the plane”.

Citing information from the recovered “black box” voice recorder, Brice Robin said Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit just before the crash.

Brice Robin said there was “absolute silence in the cockpit” as the pilot fought to re-enter it.

Air traffic controllers made repeated attempts to contact the aircraft, the prosecutor added, but to no avail.

Passengers were not aware of the impending crash “until the very last moment” when screams could be heard, Brice Robin said, adding that they died instantly.

“We hear the pilot ask the co-pilot to take control of the plane and we hear at the same time the sound of a seat moving backwards and the sound of a door closing,” the prosecutor said.

Brice Robin said the pilot, named in the German media as Patrick Sonderheimer, had probably gone to the restroom.

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Andreas Lubitz was the Germanwings co-pilot who officials say locked out Captain Patrick Sonderheimer from the cockpit and deliberately crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps, killing all 150 people onboard.

French prosecutor Brice Robin said Andreas Lubitz, 28, locked the doors of the cockpit after the captain went to the restroom and sent the plane into descent with 150 people on board on march 24.

Investigators will now pore over Andreas Lubitz’s background to try and ascertain his exact mental state in the days leading up to the plane crash.

Andreas Lubitz lived with his parents at their home in the western town of Montabaur, which has now become a scene of deep media intrigue.

Police officers have been patrolling the quiet town to keep reporters and photographers away from the front door.

Andreas Lubitz first took to the skies as a teenager, at the LSC Westerwald e.V. glider club in Montabaur.

Photo Twitter

Photo Twitter

He learned to fly in a sleek white ASK-21 two-seat glider when he was around 14 or 15-years-old, according to the club’s chairman Klaus Radke.

In 2008, Andreas Lubitz was accepted as a Lufthansa trainee, after obtaining his glider pilot’s license, and enrolled at the company’s training school in Bremen.

In 2014, he joined subsidiary airline Germanwings and began working as a co-pilot. He had flown a total of 630 hours before Tuesday’s fatal crash.

“He was 100% fit to fly without any restrictions or conditions,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told reporters in Cologne.

Those who knew Andreas Lubitz have described him as a quiet but affable character who gave no indications he was harboring any harmful intent.

Klaus Radke told the Associated Press that he saw Andreas Lubitz last autumn, when he returned to the club to renew his glider license.

“He seemed very enthusiastic about his career. I can’t remember anything where something wasn’t right,” he said.

Klaus Radke rejected the prosecutor’s claims that the plane was brought down intentionally. He said: “I don’t see how anyone can draw such conclusions before the investigation is completed.”

Peter Ruecker, a long-time member of club, also insisted Andreas Lubitz seemed “very happy” during their last meeting.

“I’m just speechless. I don’t have any explanation for this. Knowing Andreas, this is just inconceivable for me,” he said.

Prosecutor Brice Robin said there were no grounds to suspect that Andres Lubitz had carried out a terrorist attack. He refused to discuss his religious background.

“Suicide” was also the wrong word to describe actions which killed so many other people, Brice Robin said.

“I don’t necessarily call it suicide when you have responsibility for 100 or so lives.”

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