Germanwings Mystery: Pilot Locked Out, Passengers Unknown

Germanwings Mystery: Pilot Locked Out, Passengers Unknown
Image from Flickr by Mark Harkin
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Image from Flickr by Mark Harkin

The recovered black box from the cockpit of Germanwings flight 9525 revealed that one of the plane’s pilots was locked out of the cockpit. The pilot was not able to get back in even after pounding the door up until the moment of the crash.


Meanwhile, reports surfaced saying authorities are yet to be sure about the identities of all passengers as the manifest remain a secret for more than 24 hours since the plane crashed on March 24, local time.

Cockpit Voice Recorder Opens Mysteries

A senior investigator official, who has spoken under the condition of anonymity, said that the two pilots of the crashed Germanwings flight 9525 had a “very smooth, very cool” conversation before one of them went outside of the cockpit. However, the pilot could not re-enter when he got back.

“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down. We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out. But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door,” the unnamed source told The New York Times in an exclusive report.

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French authorities have released little information regarding what they found from audio recordings. Information given to the public only went as far as saying that human voices and cockpit sounds from the recording will be subjected to a more in-depth analysis.

The New York Times reached for a comment from Martine del Bono from France’s Bureau of Investigations and Analyses but was denied. The spokesperson said the bureau will hold an official press conference when more accurate information is obtained.

Another source of mystery, as The New York Times noted, is the plane’s trajectory during the moments that led to the crash. The plane reached an altitude of 6,175 feet, staying along the course of its flight path, but immediately began descending until the point of impact. The plane hit the mountainside and was obliterated.

Another unnamed senior French official noted that during the plane’s descent, the pilot should have established communication with air traffic control. The pilots’ silence was disturbing, the unnamed official said, further saying investigators should consider the angle that the silence was deliberate.

“I don’t like it. To me, it seems very weird: this very long descent at normal speed without any communications, though the weather was absolutely clear.”

The official said it is also possible that the pilots were silent because they were incapacitated by fire or loss of cabin pressure. However, pilots have access to emergency oxygen masks, since they are the first ones in the plane to know if depressurization occurs.

“If for any reason they don’t detect the problem in time, they would black out. So far, we don’t have any evidence that points clearly to a technical explanation. So we have to consider the possibility of deliberate human responsibility,” the official said.

Who was really on board?

A separate report from The Telegraph has drawn attention after citing conflicting information of the nationalities and the number of passengers aboard Germanwings flight 9525. Case in point is the true number of Britons on board.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that there are further British people involved. The level of information on the flight manifest doesn’t allow us to rule out that possibility until we’ve completed some further checks,” UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, as quoted by The Telegraph. Germanwings, on the other hand, said on Wednesday that only one Briton was among the passengers.

There were also conflicting reports as to the number of Spaniards who died in the crash. Authorities reported 45 on board, while Germanwings said there were 35. On Wednesday, Spain’s junior security minister estimated there were 49 Spanish passengers on board.

The confusion relies on Europe’s border protocols, a source from the German government told The Telegraph. Europe does not require records of passports and ID cards when travelling; hence, there is no exact way to determine the nationalities of the passengers.

As to the secrecy surrounding the passenger manifesto, the source said officials are still waiting until all families of the passengers are informed of the tragedy.

Also read: Germanwings Crash In Brief

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