German co-pilot "intentionally crashed aircraft"

A rescue worker climbs past debris near Seyne-les-Alpes (Beta/AP)

German co-pilot "intentionally crashed aircraft"

PARIS -- The co-pilot of a Germanwings passenger plane that crashed in France earlier this week "intentionally brought the aircraft down," investigators have announced.

There are no indications that the incident, that killed 150 passengers and crew, was a terrorist act, they added on Thursday.

News agencies are quoting Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin as saying that the pilot "left the cockpit, presumably to go to the washroom, and then was unable to regain access."

28-year- old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz used this opportunity to "manually and intentionally" set the plane on a descent course and eventually crash it into the French Alps.

Lubitz had the intention to destroy this plane, Robin said, adding that the information was pulled from the black box cockpit voice recorder.

The co-pilot "did not say a word" after the pilot left the cockpit. "It was absolute silence in the cockpit," he said, and added that during the final minutes "pounding could be heard on the door as alarms sounded."

Lufthansa did not identify the co-pilot but said he joined Germanwings in September 2013 and had flown 630 hours. His acquaintances in the town of Montabaur said Lubitz "showed no signs of depression when they saw him last," and was "happy he had the job with Germanwings and was doing well."

The French prosecutor also told Thursday's news conference that the plane's gradual descent lasted for over ten minutes, and that the passengers, who all perished instantly, would not have been aware the aircraft would crash into the mountain side until the very end.

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