In a long awaited report on their findings, France’s BEA released its final summary on the Germanwings tragedy and their recommendations for a way forward. Sadly, we’re 11 days away from the 1 year anniversary (March 24, 2015).
The report covered much of what had already been known. They confirmed that pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the aircraft and took 150 lives. They also confirmed that he had been under a number of medical treatments and prescriptions to help him deal with depression and other medical conditions.
The BEA went on to recommend that Germany’s (and other countries) privacy policies need to be reviewed and amended that would allow medical professionals to share sensitive information with employers if there is the potential for pilots to cause harm to themselves or others. One of the biggest shortcomings of Germany’s strict privacy rules is that it discourages doctors from sharing any information. In fact, breaking these rules results in criminal charges that can be brought against doctors and others in possession of such information. The rules are so strict, that one of Lubitz’s doctors refused to be interviewed for the report due to fears of violation the pilot’s privacy.
To this end, the BEA has recommended that aviation agencies and governments review their privacy laws and create exceptions that would protect doctors and other professionals when it came to sharing information, especially when lives would cleary be at risk.
The report also went on to recommend a structure be put in place to protect pilots in the event they would be grounded due to medical issues. The report cited that Lubitz’s fear of losing his job may have lead to him to withold medical information from Lufthansa. The BEA suggested a ‘safe haven’ created by airlines would allow their pilots to deal with their medical issues without fear of losing their jobs while undergoing treatment. They also called for additional examinations and scrutiny for pilots who have experienced psychological issues in the past.
The BEA also went on to suggest softening Germany’s strict medical rules for pilots that would mirror others around the world. The example they used was the US’ FAA rules that allow pilots to be on certain anti-depressants but would still be allowed to fly. Apparently, German has a near 0-tolerance policy when it comes to pilots and these types of medications. The BEA felt that loosening these restrictions would encourage pilots to come forward with their issues and receive support from their employers.
Aside from the medical policy recommendations, the BEA made it clear that no new procedures need to be brought into the cockpit or aboard an aircraft. Their findings found that it would be impossible to defend against such actions and stated that the current policy requiring 2 persons in the cockpit at all times is sufficient. They cited that a hijacking risk greatly outweighed the risk of a suicidal pilot so creating a way to unlock the cockpit door from the outside would not be acceptable.
Predictably, families of the victims that met with the BEA earlier on Sunday to review the report were disappointed. The general consensus among them was that the report focused too much on the pilot and the policies surrounding privacy and nothing was said about what Lufthansa’s or germanwings’ liability ought to be.
InDeepSorrow.com has been made available to anyone who would like to share their thoughts and condolences related to Germanwings 9525.
People from around the world have been leaving comments over the last few days expressing sympathy and support to the families of the victims as well as to airline employees as well who are having difficulty coming to grips with the crash.
If you are compelled and have a few moments to spare, I ask that you please visit InDeepSorrow.com and add to this growing Memorial. I’m certain that these messages are being shared with the friends and families of those who lost their lives and I’m equally certain that they appreciate the outpouring of support and condolence that is taking place.
Prosecutors in France have acknowledged that the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) from Germanwings 9525 has been recovered at the crash scene. No further information is yet available, however French authorities will hold press conference tonight (Local time) to discuss the discovery. The contents of the FDR have not yet been extracted or reviewed at this point. The FDR contains all of the telemetry of the aircraft including all data on gages and aircraft flight settings and will provide critical data about the state of the aircraft leading up to the crash.
In other news regarding 4U 9525, Dusseldorf’s Public Prosecutor’s Office has released the findings of a search of the Co-Pilot’s Tablet PC. In their findings, the prosecutors office is stating that the Co-Pilot had in the days preceding the crash searched the internet for topics related to suicide and security of cockpit doors. The search for these topics took place between March 16 and March 23, 2015.
Thanks to Flynet (I’m enroute from FRA to home in the states), I’m seeing German newspaper Bild Am Sonntag is reporting that the Copilot who crashed Germanwings flight 9525 may have been suffering with a detached retina, which may have led to the depression that he was said to be dealing with.
German media is also reporting that investigators had found a number of medications in his apartment that are used for the treatment of depression and that he had been treated by a number of psychiatrists and neurologists.
In these same reports, Police are said to have found notes written by the copilot that suggest evidence of ‘Severe Overstress Syndrome’.
It also appears that the identity of 50 victims has been established. Investigators are using DNA samples taken from family members of the victims in order to establish their identity.
State Prosecutors in Dusseldorf are expected to provide updates at some point on Monday.
Lufthansa moved quickly to provide families of those lost in flight 9525 with financial assistance to help bridge economic gaps that may have been caused by the loss of their loved ones. The initial gesture by Lufthansa will provide €50,000 ($54,450.00) in the interim while the investigation continues and before any settlements are enter into.
KEEP IN MIND this is not the end of Lufthansa’s commitment to help victims. This is simply a bit of money to help families continue to meet their overhead and maintain some semblance of a lifestyle while going through this difficult process.
At some point in the future, it is likely that settlements will be reach with each family and settlements will typically be made on a case by case basis, taking into account the victims earnings, age and what I’ll refer to as Human Life Value —- the financial value of someone’s life to a family based on economic contribution, age of surviving family members, size of family, family structure etc. It is a complex formula with a myriad of criteria and needs to be done on a case by case basis.
From what I understand, each family will be able to adjudicate their claim in the country of the victim’s residence. This is an important aspect since laws governing liability, settlements, etc. vary greatly between countries which in turn will determine what will be done for each family. This is just the first step in a lengthy procedure and typically these settlements are negotiated privately and sums are usually kept confidential.