Germanwings crash panel recommends pilot support centres

GMT 19:22 2015 Tuesday ,30 June

Arab Today, arab today Germanwings crash panel recommends pilot support centres

Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village
Berlin - AFP

An aviation safety panel looking into the Germanwings crash that is blamed on a suicidal pilot recommended Tuesday that airlines set up mandatory support centres for staff with psychological problems.

The German taskforce also said it was open to proposals for randomised testing for alcohol, drugs and medications for pilots, following the crash that killed 150 people in the French Alps in March.

Almost 100 days after the disaster, the panel in an interim report also recommended that doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and air traffic regulators have greater access to pilots' medical test results.

Investigators say that 27-year-old German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally downed the Airbus A320 en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on March 24.

Although Lubitz had locked the pilot out of the cockpit, the panel did not suggest changing the door mechanism because the "most likely threat scenario" remained terrorists or criminals trying to enter the cockpit.

The panel -- made up of German airlines, aviation bodies, unions and government officials -- also supported a rule introduced by many airlines after the crash for two staff members to be in the cockpit at all times.

Since the disaster, it has emerged that Lubitz had seen seven doctors in the previous month.

Lubitz, who suffered from "psychosis", was terrified of losing his sight and consulted 41 different doctors in the past five years, including GPs, psychiatrists and ear, throat and nose specialists.

Several of these doctors who were questioned by German investigators said Lubitz complained he had only 30 percent vision, saw flashes of light and suffered such crippling anxiety he could barely sleep.

Lubitz reportedly said "life has no sense with this loss of vision".

However the doctors he consulted -- including one who booked him off work two days before the ill-fated flight -- did not reveal his mental struggles due to doctor-patient privilege.

Lubitz was quietly buried last Saturday in his hometown of Montabaur in western Germany, reported the local daily Rhein-Zeitung.


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