Germany ups medical tests for pilots in wake of Germanwings crash

BY CHARL BOSCH - FEBRUARY 22, 2016

German airlines are reportedly expected to introduce stricter medical tests for pilots following last year’s deliberate crash of a plane belonging to low-cost carrier, Germanwings.

Citing documents approved by Berlin last week Friday, weekend newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung claimed the new measures would come into the force by the end of May, although final consent from the country’s lower House of Parliament is still being awaited.

The announcement comes after 150 passengers died on-board Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf on March 24th, when co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally locked regular captain Patrick Sondenheimer out of the cockpit, before sending the Airbus A320 into a cliff-face near the town of Barcelonette in the French Alps.

It was later discovered that the 27-year old had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety, which had resulted in him visiting a reported 46 doctors after expressing fear of losing his sight. Information retrieved from Lubitz’s iPad two months after the accident, found he had researched suicide techniques as well as information about aircraft cockpit doors.

National carrier Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, later admitted to halting Lubitz’s training in 2009 following a “severe episode”, but allowed him to resume training, which he passed with distinction before joining Germanwings four years later.

A torn-up sick note found in his Dusseldorf flat three days after the accident, suggested he might have tried to hide his again deteriorating condition from company bosses, as the leave period covered the date of the eventual accident.

Britain’s Sunday Mirror has meanwhile alleged that families of the victims would be seeking a bigger compensation deal after initially being offered €50 000 (R847 438) to help with immediate costs, plus an additional €45 000 (R762 695) for each German victim.

Last week, German newspaper Rheinische Post claimed that €11.2-million (R189.8-million) in compensation had already been paid out to families.

 

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