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Paris, March 27, 2015 : The chief Marseille prosecutor handling the investigation of the crash of a Germanwings jetliner said on Thursday that evidence from the cockpit voice recorder indicated that the co-pilot had deliberately locked the captain out of the cockpit and steered the plane into its fatal descent.

“At this moment, in light of investigation, the interpretation we can give at this time is that the co-pilot through voluntary abstention refused to open the door of the cockpit to the commander, and activated the button that commands the loss of altitude,” the prosecutor, Brice Robin, said.

He said it appeared that the intention of the co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz, had been “to destroy the aircraft.” He said that the voice recorder showed that the co-pilot had been breathing until before the moment of impact, suggesting that he was conscious and deliberate in killing 144 passengers and five other crew members in the French Alps on Tuesday.

The inquiry had shown that the crash was intentional, Robin said, and he was considering changing his investigation from involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter.

He said there that was no indication this was a terrorist attack and added that Lubitz was not known to law enforcement officials. After the news conference, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, told reporters in Berlin that security officials had checked their records after Tuesday’s crash and found no indication that anyone on board had links to terrorism.

An investigation into the background of Lubitz, who was 28-year-old and came from the German town of Montabaur, is underway.

The revelation that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit before it crashed raised new and troubling questions on Thursday, as search teams continued to scour the rugged terrain of the French Alps for clues that could shed light on what happened. Several other issues remained unclear Thursday, including the identity of the captain and why he had left the cockpit.


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