Alps crash video ‘found at site’

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Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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A video of the last moments on the doomed Germanwings plane has been found on a mobile phone memory card at the crash site in the French Alps, according to reports.

The “totally blurred and chaotic” footage was reportedly made from the back of the Airbus A320 and features the sound of three metallic bangs – presumed to be the captain trying to break into the locked cockpit.

Reports of the recording came as Germanwings parent airline Lufthansa said it knew six years ago that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who intentionally crashed the plane last week, had suffered from a “serious depressive episode”.

All 150 people on board the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, including three Britons, were killed in the disaster.

Germany’s Bild newspaper and French magazine Paris Match both reported they had viewed the video of the last seconds of Flight 4U9525.

They said no individuals could be made out and it was unclear whether it had been filmed by a crew member or a passenger.

Screams of “My God” can be heard in several languages before the cabin is jolted to the side, apparently when the plane clipped a mountainside, according to the reports.

More desperate cries can be heard before the video ends, Bild said.

Paris Match that the footage was recovered from the debris of the wreckage by a “source close to the investigation”.

Lufthansa said it was aware of reports about the footage, but questioned whether a mobile phone could have withstood the impact.

A spokesman for the company said: “We have also read of reports in a French newspaper about the video. But we have not seen the video and we do not know if it exists. Therefore we cannot confirm if the video is genuine.

“Considering that everything on the plane was destroyed, it would be unusual for a mobile phone to survive the impact.”

Earlier, Lufthansa had said that as part of its internal research it found emails which Andreas Lubitz sent to the Lufthansa flight school in Bremen when he resumed his training there after an interruption of several months.

In them, he told the school he had suffered a “serious depressive episode”, which had since subsided.

The airline said Lubitz subsequently passed all medical checks and that it has provided the documents to prosecutors.

The development came as it emerged that all the victims could be identified by the end of the week.

Earlier yesterday, the head of the criminal research institute at France’s National Gendarmerie was reported as saying DNA identification would take two to four months.

But at a news conference in Berlin, French president Francois Hollande said: “The French interior minister confirmed that by the end of the week at the latest it will be possible to identify all of the victims thanks to DNA samples.”

As the grim task of searching through the wreckage continued, Lufthansa said its insurers were setting aside 300 million US dollars (£203 million) to deal with possible costs resulting from the crash.

Spokeswoman Kerstin Lau said that is the amount reserved to deal with “all costs arising in connection with the case”.

Last week, the company offered immediate aid of up to 50,000 euro (£36,000) per passenger to relatives of the victims.

Those payments are separate from any eventual compensation payments over the Airbus A320 crash, which cockpit voice recordings have indicated was deliberately caused by Lubitz, 27.

Lufthansa said out of respect for the victims it was cancelling festivities for the 60th anniversary of the airline, which were to have taken place on April 15.

Instead the company will provide a live broadcast for its employees of the official state ceremony in Cologne Cathedral on April 17 which will be attended by bereaved families.

With Lubitz having been treated for suicidal tendencies, France’s air accident investigation agency the BEA is examining cockpit entry and psychological screening procedures following the crash.

The BEA said its investigation was aiming to provide a “detailed analysis” of flight data.

It also said it would be studying “systemic weaknesses” that could have led to the crash, notably psychological screening procedures and cockpit door procedures.

The Britons who died in last Tuesday’s crash were Paul Bramley, 28, originally from Hull, Martyn Matthews, 50, from Wolverhampton, and seven-month-old Julian Pracz-Bandres, from Manchester, who died alongside his mother, Marina Bandres Lopez Belio, 37, originally from Spain.

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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