I’ve been hearing for two days about how the crash in France of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf was a complete mystery, as there was no sign of a mishap on the cockpit voice recorder nor any recorded response to concerned air traffic controllers. On the news last night there was a report that the pilot had been locked out of the cockpit. Today’s New York Times reports how we know that:
. . . evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.
A senior French military official involved in the investigation described a “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.
“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.”
He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
And then this just came on my CNN newsfeed:
There was a “deliberate attempt to destroy the aircraft,” Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin says about the Germanwings crash.
The most plausible explanation of the crash is that the co-pilot, “through deliberate abstention, refused to open the cabin door … to the chief pilot, and used the button” to cause the plane to lose altitude, Robin said. He emphasized that his conclusions were preliminary.
If the copilot wanted to kill himself, did he have to take 149 other people with him? One solution: put an outside lock on the cockpit door, and then give the keys only to the pilots.