German newspaper publishes chilling summary of voice recorder of last minutes on the plane
GN Bureau | March 30, 2015
Captain Patrick Sonderheimer of Germanwings flight yelled, “Open the damn door!” moments before the aircraft he was commandeering slammed into the French Alps. With passengers screaming in the background, Sonderheimer shouts: “for God’s sake, open the door!” The captain then tries to smash through the heavily reinforced door while shouting: “Open the damn door!”
According to German newspaper Bild, the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder reveal how Sonderheimer was desperately trying to get back into the cockpit for eight minutes after his co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the door before deliberately putting the aircraft into descent.
The aircraft crashed into a mountain ravine between Digne-les-Bains and Barcelonnette in the southern French Alps, instantly killing all 150 people aboard — 144 passengers and six crew members.
Meanwhile, German investigators discovered torn-up notes at Lubitz’s home showing that he had been excused from work by his doctor for a period that included the day of the crash.
Lubitz is reported to have been undergoing treatment for depression. German police found medication for psychological conditions and there are suggestions he also had vision problems that would have ended his career and his dream of becoming a captain on long-haul flights.
His ex-girlfriend, named only as Maria W., 26, a flight attendant, told Bild that Lubitz had said to her: “One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember it.”
“I never knew what he meant by that, but now it makes sense,” Bild quoted the young woman as saying.
She added that at night Lubitz was troubled by nightmares and would wake up screaming, “We’re going down!”
A summary of transcript published in Bild
The flight takes off 20 minutes late, and Sonderheimer apologizes for the delay.
The captain tells Lubitz that he didn’t have time to go to the bathroom before leaving Barcelona. Lubitz tells him he can go anytime.
10:27 a.m.: The aircraft is at 38,000 feet. The captain asks the copilot to prepare the landing. Lubitz replies “hopefully” and “we’ll see.”
After the check, Lubitz repeats to the captain, “You can go now.”
There is the sound of a seat moving backward. The captain says, “You can take over.”
There is the sound of a door clicking.
10:29 a.m.: Air traffic radar detects that the plane is beginning to descend.
10:32 a.m.: Air traffic controllers contact the plane and receive no answer. Around the same time, an alarm in the cockpit sounds: “Sink rate.”
There follows a bang on the door. The pilot can be heard shouting: “For God’s sake, open the door!” Passengers can be heard screaming.
10:35 a.m.: There is the sound of loud metallic banging as if someone is hitting the cockpit door. The plane is now at 23,000 feet.
10:36-10:37 a.m.: An alarm sounds: “Terrain … pull up.” The plane is at 16,400 feet.
The captain is shouting: “Open the damn door!”
10:38 a.m.: The plane is at about 13,100 feet. Lubitz can be heard breathing.
10:40 a.m.: The sound of what is believed to be the plane’s right wing scraping the mountaintop can be heard. Screams of passengers are the last sounds on the recording.
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