Tag Archives: flight

French Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Destroyed Flight 4U 9525


On Thursday, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin, who is investigating the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525, which crashed into the French Alps and killed all 150 people on board on Tuesday morning, said that first pilot Andreas Lubitz “deliberately destroyed” the plane.

The plane, an Airbus A320, was flying from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, when it crashed and killed all 144 passengers and six crew members instantly. Aside from the names of the pilots, the airline has announced that it will not release the names of the passengers who were on board, “not only due to data protection but above all to honor their privacy.”

The Telegraph noted that the flight, which crashed near Digne-les-Bains in the French Alps, was one of France’s worst aviation disasters.

During a press conference on Thursday, Robin said that after investigating the plane’s black box recorder, he determined that the crash was “not an accident,” and that Lubitz seemed to have deliberately destroyed the plane.

Robin explained that prior to the crash, Lubitz was alone at the controls, after the captain of the flight, Patrick Sondenheimer, left to use the restroom. Robin said that Lubitz “voluntarily refused to open the door of the cockpit to the pilot and voluntarily began the descent of the plane.

“For the last 20 minutes the conversation was normal, courteous, nothing abnormal,” Robin saidHe explained that it was not until the captain left to of to the restroom and Lubitz was alone, that he began to manipulate the flight monitoring system, and put the plane into descent mode.

“The action of this selection of altitude can only be deliberate,” said Robin, who went on to say that in the minutes before the crash, there was “absolute silence in the cockpit,” and that while Lubitz’s breathing was detected on the recording from the black box, he sent no distress signal.

Robin said that there is no evidence to suggest Lubitz had links to terrorist groups, or that this was a terrorist act.

The Guardian reported that Lubitz, a 28-year-old from Germany, clocked a total of 630 flying hours, and had been flying for Germanwings since September 2013, after receiving training from the airline’s parent company Lufthansa.

The Independent reported that the flight’s captain, Patrick Sondenheimer, was a married father of two, who had completed more than 6,000 flying hours, and had been flying with Germanwings since May 2014, after working with both Lufthansa and Condor. The black box recording indicated that after attempting to return to the cockpit, and finding that the door was locked, Sondenheimer knocked, received no response from Lubitz, and then tried to break down the door before the plan crashed.

Investigation into MH17 crash claims Russians shot down the flight

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 fell from the sky over Ukraine and crashed with no survivors. Speculation flew surrounding the plane crash, some of which pointed the finger at Russia who had recently sent troops into Ukraine. Russia denied these claims and blamed Ukrainian separatists within Ukraine.

Now, months later, a German investigative group known as CORRECT!V, claims they have proof Russia is responsible for shooting MH17 out of the sky.

The CORRECT!V website focused on the investigation claims MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile. They claim the missile was fired by the 53rd Russian Air Defense Brigade, which displayed no national emblems while in Ukrainian territory. The brigade was initially tasked with protecting Russian tank units.

Various military experts spoke with the investigation team and said the BUK missile system could have only been operated by a group of “highly trained specialists acting as a close-knit unit…”

The reason these experts claim it could have only been trained specialists using the machinery is the operators would have only had seconds to switch on their machinery, fire the missile, then turn the machinery back off before they would have been found by other radar systems or targeted. At the time of the crash, no other radar signatures were reported. 

CORRECT!V sent investigators to the area of Ukraine where MH17 was downed, and the investigators spoke to witnesses of the crash as well as people who claim to have seen the BUK missile system responsible for the crash.

One witness said he had seen a vehicle launch the missile into the air, followed by a series of percussive “bang” sounds.

The missile flew from here,” said the witness. “I was in the yard and heard an explosion, a bang. It was a really loud bang. The tiles on my roof shook. Then there was a long sound. And then a very loud explosion: bang, bang. And just as I ran out into the road, the plane began to fall. Down the road, several kilometers from here. And you could see it burn.”

Aleksandr Khodakovskiy, a former SBU officer who is now a separatist commander, told Reuters months ago his initial unit was in possession of a BUK missile system, but he retracted this statement not long afterwards. He spoke with CORRECT!V saying after the MH17 crash, his unit was still in possession of a BUK, but he did not possess the personnel to operate the system properly or effectively. 

“I know for sure that the popular militia did not shoot down the Boeing,” said Khodakovskiy. “We don’t have and didn’t have specialists who can operate such high precision weapons systems.”

Russian authorities continue to claim they had no part in the downing of MH17.

The full report from CORRECT!V can be found here.

U.S. intel says no link between Russia and downed plane

Senior U.S. intelligence officials have told the AP there is no evidence to directly link Russian involvement with the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

These same officials did say however, Russia was responsible for “creating the conditions” which led to the destruction of the flight and the subsequent deaths of all the passengers on board.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was brought down by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile which was fired by Russian-backed separatists, according to the Huffington Post.  Satellite photos and social media posts from these separatists which support this claim, have been authenticated by U.S. experts.

These same officials though have also said they are not sure whether the missile crew was trained by Russians on how to properly use the equipment, or if any Russian operatives were present at the launch site when the missile was fired.  Although, Russia has reportedly been stepping-up their campaign in the past weeks to train and arm rebels in the area.

These reports come after President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron made statements falling just short of putting the blame wholly on Russia, according to CNN.  These, as well as other world leaders, have said the pro-Russian separatists could not have fired the missiles or worked the equipment properly to bring down such a high-flying jet without training and weapons from Russia.

Officials have also said, in terms of who specifically launched the missile, “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality,” according to ABC.

Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser, said in an interview with CNN, “We do think President Putin and the Russian government bears responsibility for the support they provided to these separatists, the arms they provided to these separatists, the training they provided as well and the general unstable environment in eastern Ukraine.”

Malaysian Airlines flight crashes near Russia-Ukraine border

The Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has crashed in eastern Ukraine after failing to report its entry into Russian airspace.

The flight was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and was carrying around 280 passengers and 15 crew members, reports the LA Times.  At least 100 bodies, supposedly from the flight, have been found so far near the Ukrainian village of Grabovov, and the debris from the flight is spread across a diameter of 15km.

One witness who would only name himself as Vladimir, told the Straits Times, “I was working in the field on my tractor when I heard the sound of a plane and then a bang and shots. Then I saw the plane hit the ground and break in two.”

Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko told Reuters he believed the flight was shot down by a ground-to-air missile.  Gerashchenko said, “A civilian airliner travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has just been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft system … 280 passengers and 15 crew have been killed.”

A report from Capitol Public Radio says the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, told the media the Ukrainian government and armed forces were not responsible for the downing of the flight.

“We stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” said Poroshenko.  “We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

Gerashchenko and many others are blaming the attack on pro-Russian forces within Ukraine.

The U.S. government has offered assistance to the government of Ukraine to help in their investigation as to the cause of the crash.