Father of Germanwings pilot seeks to clear son's name

Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in Hamburg in this Sept 13, 2009 file photo.
Andreas Lubitz runs the Airportrace half marathon in Hamburg in this Sept 13, 2009 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Two years after the Germanwings plane crash in southern France, the father of the pilot is seeking to restore his son's name, telling a German paper that Andreas Lubitz's actions were not premeditated.

Investigators have concluded that Lubitz deliberately flew the Germanwings A320 jet into a French mountainside on March 24, 2015 on a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, killing all 150 people on board.

Prosecutors have said Lubitz was suffering from a psychotic illness that led to suicidal thoughts but that he had concealed his illness from his employer, part of the Lufthansa group .

"He had no reason to plan and carry out suicide, let alone take 149 other people with him," Guenter Lubitz told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit in an interview released on Wednesday (March 22).

He said there was no definite proof that his son deliberately flew the plane and its passengers to their deaths and said the investigation was not complete.

Lubitz, who has not previously spoken in public or to the media, has also called a conference in Berlin on Friday (March 24), the second anniversary of the crash, to talk with the media.

When asked about Lubitz's comments and the planned press conference, Lufthansa said there was no reason to doubt the findings of the investigators.

"March 24 is a day reserved for the victims and their families. We find holding such an event on this day to be completely out of place," a spokesman said.

German prosecutors decided earlier this year that nobody other than Lubitz could be held accountable for the crash and repeated that stance this week.

"We believe that this mental illness led to suicidal thoughts and that these thoughts led to him crashing the plane," Duesseldorf-based prosecutor Christoph Kumpa told Reuters.