Pilot Who Crashed Germanwings Plane May Have Sought Psychiatric Help

by
Indrani Sengupta
Andreas Lubitz committed a devastating act. But is society's lack of support for the mentally ill also complicit?

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who deliberately crashed a Germanwings plane into the Alps mountainside, may have sought out psychiatric help before he committed the act.

lubitz

On March 24th, Lubitz locked the pilot of Flight 9525 out of the cockpit, following which he put the plane into rapid descent. All 150 people on board died.

Brice Robin, the lead prosecutor for the case, stated that Lubitz had reached out to dozens of doctors during the period leading up to the crash.

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There’s no evidence to suggest that Lubitz actually saw any of these doctors. This, coupled with the sheer number of practitioners he attempted to contact, suggests that Lubitz was unable to schedule an appointment with any of them in the days before he was to pilot Flight 9525. If this is true, there is a possibility that Lubitz solicited counseling, but didn’t receive it in time.

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In the week before the crash, Lubitz also spent time online researching suicide methods and cockpit door security.

In late March, Germanwings parent company Lufthansa admitted that Lubitz had informed them earlier of a “serious depressive episode.” However, Lubitz was cleared by doctors as fit to fly.

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But in the aftermath, police discovered personal notes that suggested Lubitz had been suffering from "severe subjective overstress symptoms" a period.

There’s no denying Lubitz’s culpability in this heinous act. However, it’s possible that a lack of conversation about mental illness, and a willful denial of warning signs, contributed to this tragedy.

It’s important to remember, however, that very few among those who suffer from mental illness cause any measure of harm to the people around them, least of all on such a scale. Let’s not let the possible interpretations of this new evidence contribute to the already massive stigma against mental illness. 

Read more: License To Fly: Pilots In India Certified After Just 35 Minutes In Air

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