Newspaper article International New York Times

Lufthansa Says Co-Pilot Reported His Depression ; He Sent Medical Records to Carrier That Described His 'Severe' Condition

Newspaper article International New York Times

Lufthansa Says Co-Pilot Reported His Depression ; He Sent Medical Records to Carrier That Described His 'Severe' Condition

Article excerpt

Lufthansa said it found an email showing that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had told the company of his condition as he sought to rejoin its training program.

The co-pilot at the controls of the German jetliner that crashed in the French Alps last week informed Lufthansa in 2009 that he had suffered from severe depression, the company has said.

Lufthansa said a search of its records found an email showing that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had informed the company of his condition as he was seeking to rejoin its training program after an absence of several months.

The airline said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr. Lubitz had sent its flight training school the email, which included medical documents describing a "previous episode of severe depression." Lufthansa is the parent company of the budget Germanwings airline that operated the jet that crashed on March 24.

Lufthansa said it had now turned the information over to the German prosecutor investigating the crash, in which Mr. Lubitz and the other 149 people aboard the plane were killed.

It was the first acknowledgment by Lufthansa that it knew of Mr. Lubitz's mental health issues before the crash, and it raised further questions about why the airline had allowed Mr. Lubitz to complete his training and go on to fly passenger jets.

Prosecutors in Germany said Monday that he had been treated for suicidal tendencies but did not say when, and Lufthansa's statement did not address when Mr. Lubitz's depression had occurred, what treatment he might have received or what, if any, follow-up there was with Mr. Lubitz by the airline.

Lufthansa's statement on Tuesday came five days after its chief executive, Carsten Spohr, a former pilot, said the airline had found Mr. Lubitz to be "100 percent flightworthy without any limitations."

Mr. Spohr said last week that candidates for flight school were chosen not only on the basis of their technical ability but also for their psychological fitness. He said Lufthansa's screening process was considered state of the art, "and we're very proud of it."

Police officers who searched through Mr. Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf on Thursday found doctors' notes that said Mr. …

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