Date
24 January 2017
A doctor consulted by Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had recommended two weeks before the disaster that he should be treated in a psychiatric hospital. Photo: Reuters
A doctor consulted by Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had recommended two weeks before the disaster that he should be treated in a psychiatric hospital. Photo: Reuters

Tougher medical checks urged for pilots after Germanwings crash

French investigators have recommended tougher medical checks for pilots after uncovering fresh evidence of unreported concerns over the mental state of a German pilot who crashed his jet into the Alps last year.

All 150 people on board died.

France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said a doctor consulted by Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had recommended two weeks before the disaster that he should be treated in a psychiatric hospital, Reuters reports.

The unidentified private physician was one of several doctors seen by Lubitz, 27, as he wrestled with symptoms of a “psychotic depressive episode” that started in December 2014 and may have lasted until the day of the crash, it said.

Investigators believe Lubitz, who had a history of depression, barricaded himself into the cockpit and deliberately propelled his Airbus jet into a mountainside on March 24, 2015.

The BEA said in its final report Sunday that neither Lubitz nor any of his doctors had alerted aviation authorities or his airline about his illness, for which he was being treated with anti-depressants.

It urged the World Health Organization and European Commission to draw up rules to oblige doctors to inform authorities when a patient’s health is very likely to affect public safety — against the patient’s consent, if necessary.

It also called for tougher inspections when pilots with a history of psychiatric problems are declared fit to fly.

At the same time, the BEA called on airlines to find ways to ease the risks for pilots who may fear losing their job for medical reasons, such as loss-of-license insurance.

Germanwings parent Lufthansa said it already offered insurance against medical grounding for young pilots.

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CG/FL

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