Alps crash captain shouted 'open the damn door'

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Duesseldorf, Mar 29: The captain of a passenger jet that investigators believe was deliberately crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, shouted at the co-pilot to "open the damn door" as he made desperate attempts to return to the locked cockpit, according to a German newspaper said today.

French officials say the plane's black box voice recorder indicates that Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked the captain out of the cockpit of the Germanwings jet and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside.

Plane

They believe that the more senior pilot tried desperately to reopen the door during the flight's eight-minute descent after he left to use the bathroom.

Germany's mass-circulation Bild today reported that data from the cockpit recorder showed that the captain shouted: "For God's sake, open the door", as passengers' screams could be heard in the background, moments before the fatal crash.

The pilot could then be heard trying to smash the door down with an axe, and then screaming to a silent Lubitz to "open the damn door".

Bild said that before leaving the cockpit the captain could be heard explaining to his colleague that he had not had time to go to the toilet before they left Barcelona.

German prosecutors believe Lubitz hid an illness from his airline but have not specified the ailment, and said he had apparently been written off sick on the day the Airbus crashed on its route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

As investigators race to build up a picture of Lubitz and any possible motives, media reports emerged saying he had suffered from vision problems, adding to earlier reports he was severely depressed.

Lubitz's ex-girlfriend, identified only as Maria W, told Bild Lubitz had told her, "One day I'm going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember."

"I never knew what he meant by that but now it makes sense," it quoted the "shocked" flight attendant as saying Saturday.

Bild, which showed a photo of the ex-girlfriend from behind to conceal her face, said she had flown with Lubitz on European flights for five months last year and that he had had another girlfriend since her.

She said he could be "sweet" and would give her flowers but got agitated talking about work conditions, such as pay or the pressure of the job, and was plagued by nightmares. "At night he woke up and screamed 'We're going down!'," she recalled.

AFP

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