Lufthansa Execs Visit Alps Crash Site 04/01 06:09
SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) -- Lufthansa's chief executive said Wednesday
it will take "a long, long time" to understand what led to a deadly crash in
the Alps last week --- but refused to say what the airline knew about the
mental health of the co-pilot suspected of deliberately destroying the plane.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and the head of its low-cost airline
Germanwings, Thomas Winkelmann, were visiting the crash area Wednesday amid
mounting questions about how much the airlines knew about co-pilot Andreas
Lubitz's psychological state and why they haven't released more information
The two men lay flowers and then stood silently facing a stone monument to
the plane's 150 victims. The monument looks toward the mountains where the
Germanwings A320 crashed and shattered into thousands of pieces March 24 and
bears a memorial message in German, Spanish, French and English.
Spohr said the airline is "learning more every day" about what might have
led to the crash but "it will take a long, long time to understand how this
He then deflected questions from reporters at the site in Seyne-les-Alpes,
and drove away.
After listening to the plane's voice data recorder, investigators believe
Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane. Lufthansa acknowledged Tuesday that it
knew Lubitz had suffered from an episode of "severe depression" before he
finished his flight training at the German airline, but that he has passed all
his medical checks since.
German prosecutors say Lubitz's medical records from before he received his
pilot's license referred to "suicidal tendencies," but visits to doctors since
then showed no record of any suicidal tendencies or aggression against others.
The revelations intensify questions about how much Lufthansa and its
insurers will pay in damages for the passengers who died --- and about how
thoroughly the aviation industry and government regulators screen pilots for
At the crash site Wednesday, authorities said they have finished collecting
"(We) will continue looking for bodies, but at the crash site there are no
longer any visible remains," said Lt. Col. Jean-Marc Menichini.
Lt. Luc Poussel said all that's left are "belongings and pieces of metal."
Officials at France's national criminal laboratory near Paris say it will
take a few months for the painstaking identification process to be complete and
for the remains to be returned to the families.