BERLIN — German prosecutors say the co-pilot who crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 researched how to get hold of deadly drugs and the possibility of a living will — a finding that suggests he was mulling other means of killing himself until the last minute.
Duesseldorf prosecutor Christoph Kumpa confirmed a report Friday in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Andreas Lubitz searched on the Internet in March for ways of getting hold of potassium cyanide, valium and lethal combinations of medicines. He also searched for the term “living will” on the afternoon of March 23, the day before the crash.
A living will spells out a patient’s wishes for medical care if he is unable to communicate with doctors.
Prosecutors say Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 into a mountainside during a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, killing all 150 people on board. Among them were 16 students and two teachers returning to Germany from a school trip to Spain.
A key source of evidence has been the browsing history on a tablet computer found at the 27-year-old’s apartment, and prosecutors previously have said that he spent time online researching suicide methods and cockpit door security in the week before the crash.
Prosecutors in both Germany and France are investigating the crash. On Thursday, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said information from Lubitz’s tablet showed he had also investigated vision problems, and “feared going blind,” which would have ended his aviation career.
Lubitz, who had a history of depression, had seven medical appointments in the month before the crash, including three with a psychiatrist, and had taken eight sick days off work, Robin said. Some of the doctors felt Lubitz was psychologically unstable, and some felt he was unfit to fly, but didn’t report that information to anyone because of medical secrecy laws, Robin said.
He added that it wasn’t yet clear if the vision woes were real or imagined.
The German Medical Association declined to comment on the French prosecutors’ latest revelations, but reiterated its position that rules on patient-doctor confidentiality don’t need to be changed. It noted that doctors are already allowed to inform families of patients with serious contagious diseases, or authorities that a professional driver has an alcohol problem that could endanger him and others.
In Haltern, a town in western Germany, the first of the 16 students was buried Friday in a private ceremony. German news agency dpa reported that five of the students will be buried beside a memorial for the crash victims at the Haltern cemetery. It consists of 18 trees planted in such a way as to resemble a classroom.
French authorities, meanwhile, plan to create a common grave in the town of Le Vernet, near the crash site, to bury those remains that couldn’t be identified.
Families will be invited to that memorial, likely in July, said Robin, the French prosecutor.