Airbus plane crashes in Alps region
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Airbus plane crashes in Alps region

An Airbus plane with at least 144 passengers, two pilots and four flight attendants on board has crashed in the Alps region.

    From AP: A320 has good safety record


    1:25 p.m. (1225 GMT, 8:25 a.m. EDT)

    The Airbus 320 plane that went down in the French Alps is a workhorse of modern aviation. Similar to the Boeing 737, the single-aisle, twin-engine jet is used to connect cities that are between one and five hours apart. Worldwide, 3,606 A320s are in operation, according to Airbus, which also makes the smaller but near-identical A318 and A319 and the stretched A321. An additional 2,486 of those jets are flying.

    The Germanwings A320 crashed Tuesday crashed in the south of the Alps while flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf in Germany. No survivors are expected.

    The A320 family has a good safety record, with just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis.

    ___

    1:10 p.m. (1210 GMT, 8:10 a.m. EDT)

    The CEO of Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, says he doesn’t yet have any information about what happened to its flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf that French officials say has crashed in the Alps.

    “My deepest sympathy is with all the relatives and friends of our passengers and crew on 4U 9525,” Carsten Spohr was cited in a tweet by Lufthansa as saying. “If our fears are confirmed, this is a dark day for Lufthansa. We hope to find survivors.

    Antonio San Jose, spokesman for Spanish airport authority AENA, told the Onda Cero radio station that authorities do not yet know how many Spaniards were on the jet but that the authority’s best information is that 147 people were aboard the plane.

    “It would be a miracle if there were survivors but hopefully there will be. We do not know the causes, simply that it lost contact,” San Jose said.





    AP UPDATE: Germanwings says 150 aboard crash plane

    1:40 p.m. (1240 GMT, 8:40 a.m. EDT)

    Airline Germanwings says there were 144 passengers and six crew aboard a plane that crashed in the French Alps.

    Manager Oliver Wagner did not say whether there were any survivors and added it was not currently possible to give more information on how the accident occurred. “I promise that we will do everything to clear up the events thoroughly,” he said. “We are endlessly sorry for what has happened.

    Other officials have given slightly differing figures for the number on board.

    The Airbus 320 crashed Tuesday morning during a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, Germany. French President Francois Hollande has said no survivors are expected.

    The Germanwings logo, normally maroon and yellow, was blacked out on its Twitter feed.

    AP UPDATE: Germanwings says plane went into long descent

    The boss of airline Germanwings says the plane went into a long descent before it crashed into the French Alps, likely killing all 150 people on board.

    Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said the plane began descending again shortly after it reached its cruising height following takeoff from Barcelona Airport. The descent lasted eight minutes, he told reporters in Cologne. Radar and air traffic control contact broke off at 10:53 a.m.

    He said the pilot had more than 10 years’ experience working for Germanwings and its parent airline Lufthansa. Airbus said the A320 was delivered to Lufthansa in 1991.

    Germanwings said the passenger manifest included two babies. Officials believe there were 67 German nationals on board.



    AP UPDATE: ‘Everything is pulverized’ at plane crash site

    11:05 a.m EDT

    A local lawmaker says the debris from the plane crash in the French Alps that killed all 150 people on board is spread over 100-200 meters (110-220 yards).

    Gilbert Sauvan, president of the general council of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, told the AP that “everything is pulverized.”

    He said the largest pieces of debris are the size of a small car.

    Sauvan said no one can access the site from the ground, but that helicopters are circling the area to get information and 500 firefighters and gendarmes are in the area.

    See photos as rescuers mobilize and head to the crash site. 

    Rescue
    workers and gendarme gather in Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, Tuesday,
    March 24, 2015, as search-and-rescue teams struggle to reach the remote
    crash site of Germanwings passenger plane.
    A Germanwings passenger jet
    carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in the French Alps as it flew from
    Spain's Barcelona airport to Duesseldorf in Germany, authorities
    said.
    (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
     


    ALERT: PARIS (AP) - French interior minister: A black box has been found at plane crash
    site in French Alps.

    Crash is Germanwings' first fatal accident since 2002 start

    WTOPFRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germanwings, a low-cost unit of Lufthansa, had recorded no accidents involving passenger deaths until one of its planes crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board. Aviation…

    UPDATE: Rescuers mobilized, interior minister says little hope of survivors

    11:55 a.m EDT

    French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 10 helicopters and a military plane have been mobilized to the site in the French Alps where a Germanwings plane crashed en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

    At a news conference at Seyne les Alpes, Cazeneuve left open the possibility that some of the 150 people onboard could have survived.

    He said “the violence of the shock leaves little hope,” but refused to be categorical.

    A photo of the crash scene from La Provence newspaper showed scattered flecks across a mountain and several larger pieces which appear to be part of the body of the plane, with five windows seen on
    one and four on another.

    Multilingual tweets 

    French newspaper La Provence has been tweeting videos, photos, updates and more in multiple languages: French, English and also Spanish. 

    The Germanwings flight originated in Spain. Follow along @LaProvence
    UPDATE: German opera singer was on board crashed plane

    1:50 p.m EDT

    An opera house in Duesseldorf says bass baritone Oleg Bryjak was among the 150 people onboard the plane that crashed in the French Alps.

    Officials believe all onboard were likely killed when the plane crashed on its way from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany.

    The Deutsche Oper am Rhein said Bryjak was on his way back from Barcelona, where he had sung Alberich in Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried” at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

    Director Christoph Meyer said that “we have lost a great performer and a great person in Oleg Bryjak. We are stunned.

    UPDATE: Authorities still treating crash as an accident

    2:05 p.m EDT

    A Lufthansa vice president says the company is treating the crash of a Germanwings jet in France that carried 150 people as an accident for “the time being.”

    Heike Birlenbach told reporters in Barcelona that for now “we say it is an accident. There is nothing more we can say right now.

    She also said that the plane, bound for Duesseldorf in Germany, took off from Barcelona 30 minutes late Tuesday but did not know what caused the delay.

    The Airbus A320 was inspected by Lufthansa’s technical team on Monday.

    Germanwings is a low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa.
    UPDATE: Second opera singer identified as passenger

    3:20 p.m. EDT

    A Spanish opera house says a second singer, German contralto Maria Radner along with her husband and baby, were among the 150 victims of the plane crash in the French Alps.

    Earlier Tuesday, an opera house in Duesseldorf said bass baritone Oleg Bryjak was on the plane which crashed on its way from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany.

    Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu said Radner, like Bryjak, had performed in its production of Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried.”

    UPDATE: Black box recovered

    13:30 a.m EDT

    AP - A French Interior Ministry official says the black box has been recovered from the site in the French Alps where a plane carrying 150 people crashed.

    The official, who was not authorized to speak about the crash publicly, confirmed to The Associated Press that the black box was in hand.

    French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve earlier Tuesday said the black box had been located and would be handed to investigators in coming hours.

    Officials believe all onboard were likely killed when the plane crashed on its way from Barcelona in Spain to Duesseldorf, Germany.

    UPDATE: Passenger info should be available quickly

    5:50 p.m. EDT

    Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr says initial information about the cause of the plane crash over the French Alps, which killed all 150 people onboard, should be available “relatively quickly.”

    Spohr expressed satisfaction that authorities had found the first black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and said he would not speculate on the cause of the crash until its data had been analyzed.

    Spohr told Germany’s ARD television the firm and investigators would “try to find out and then understand how this blackest day of our company’s 60-year history could happen.”

    Germanwings is a low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa.
    UPDATE: Spanish town mourns passenger

    6:10 p.m. EDT

    Hundreds of students, parents and townspeople from a small Spanish town have gathered at a weekly mass to mourn a group of German exchange students who died in the plane crash over the French Alps after visiting the town.

    The mass at a local church turned into an unofficial outpouring of grief for the students and their two teachers who were among the 150 people who died in the crash Tuesday.

    Andrea Perez Martinez, 20, who had participated in the exchange with the German school in Haltern four years ago came to mourn the loss of one of the two teachers, whom she identified as Claudia.

    “This really hurts because the teacher, one of the two that died, was with us on the trips we took and everything when we went there,” Perez Martinez said.

    The Spanish school that hosted the German students, Institut Giola, said in a statement: “We extend our condolences to the victims of this tragic accident as well as the educational community of the Joseph-Konig-Gymnasium” in Germany.

    Jet crashes in Alps, 150 on board; ‘no survivors’ expected

    AP 

    SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) — A Germanwings jet carrying 150 people from Barcelona to Duesseldorf slammed into a remote section of the French Alps on Tuesday, sounding like an avalanche as it scattered pulverized debris across a rocky mountain and down its steep ravines. All aboard were assumed killed.

    The pilots sent out no distress call and had lost radio contact with their control center, France’s aviation authority said, deepening the mystery over the A320’s mid-flight crash after a surprise 8-minute descent.

    “The site is a picture of horror. The grief of the families and friends is immeasurable. We must now stand together. We are united in our great grief,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement after being flown over the crash scene and briefed by French authorities.

    The crash left officials and families across Europe reeling in shock. Sobbing, grieving relatives at both airports were led away by airport workers and crisis counselors. One German town was rent with sorrow after losing 16 high school students coming back from an exchange program in Spain.

    “This is pretty much the worst thing you can imagine,” a visibly rattled Haltern Mayor Bodo Klimpel said at a hastily called press conference.

    As helicopters were deployed to reach the crash site, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged reporters not to speculate on the cause.

    The plane left Barcelona at 9:55 a.m. Germanwings official Thomas Winkelmann said it began descending again shortly after it reached its cruising height of 38,000 feet following takeoff from Barcelona Airport. The descent lasted eight minutes, he told reporters in Cologne. Radar and air traffic control contact with the plane broke off at 10:53 a.m. at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.

    The plane crashed in a mountainous zone in the French Alps at an altitude of about 2,000 meters (6,550 feet), said Pierre-Henry Brandet, the French Interior Ministry spokesman.

    Winkelmann said the pilot had more than 10 years’ experience working for Germanwings and its parent airline Lufthansa. Airbus said the A320 was delivered to Lufthansa in 1991.

    Germanwings said Flight 9525 carried 144 passengers, including two babies, and 6 crew members. Officials believe there were 67 German nationals on board.

    Click here to read the full story. 

    UPDATE: 'Picture of horror'

    2:55 p.m. EDT

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the crash site is “a picture of horror.”

    After being flown over the crash scene and briefed by French authorities, he said: “The grief of the families and friends is immeasurable. We must now stand together. We are united in our great grief.

    He was also quoted by his ministry as thanking the French for their “exemplary” help.

    The Germanwings flight crashed in France on its way from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany.
    AP UPDATE: France releases photos of mangled data recorder

    1 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8 a.m. EDT)

    France’s aviation investigation bureau has released photos of the badly mangled voice data recorder from the Germanwings flight that crashed into an Alpine mountainside.

    The images show the metal black box — which is actually a bright orange-red — twisted, dented and scarred by the impact of the crash.

    The cockpit voice recorder was recovered on Tuesday and French officials say they are working to pull its data.

    Courtesy AP 

    UPDATE: 3 generations of a family die in plane crash

    1:15 p.m. (1215 GMT, 8:15 a.m. EDT)

    Three generations of one family — a schoolgirl, her mother and grandmother — were on the Germanwings plane that crashed, according to a town outside Barcelona.

    A statement from Sant Cugat del Valles town hall didn’t provide their names.

    The girl was a student of a middle school for children aged 10 to 11 at Santa Isabel school in Sant Cugat.

    “The students are very affected. The teachers are trying to help them any way they can,” said a woman who answered the phone at the school. She refused to give her name or comment further.

    —By Associated Press writer Jorge Sainz in Madrid.

    AP UPDATE: Obama, Cameron express condolences

    1:50 p.m. (1250 GMT, 8:50 a.m. EDT)

    U.S. President Barack Obama has called Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to express his condolences following the crash of the Germanwings plane in which at least 35 Spaniards died.

    Obama conveyed “his condolences and those of the American people to Spain and to the families lost on the flight,” the U.S. Embassy in Madrid said. Obama also offered assistance from American officials.

    Speaking in Parliament, British Prime Minister David Cameron also offered condolences on Tuesday’s crash that killed 150.

    “It is heartbreaking to hear about the schoolchildren, the babies, the families whose lives have been brought to an end,” he said.

    The British government believes three British nationals died, and is checking to see if there might have been more.

    Get the latest updates on WTOP.com.

    AP UPDATE: Germanwings CEO gives latest victim breakdown

    Germanwings’ chief executive says the airline’s current information is that 72 Germans, 35 Spanish citizens and two Americans were on board the flight that crashed in southern France.

    Thomas Winkelmann told reporters in Cologne on Wednesday that the list isn’t yet final because the company is still trying to contact relatives of 27 victims.

    Winkelmann says in some cases victims’ nationality isn’t entirely clear, in part because of dual citizenship.

    There were two victims each from Australia, Argentina, Iran and Venezuela. One victim each came from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel.

    Spain’s government said they had identified 49 Spanish victims, while Britain says it believes there were at least three Britons on board.


    Zeta chapter is mourning the loss of our beautiful alumni, Emily Selke. Emily and her mother were abroad the plane from Barcelona to Düsseldorf that crashed yesterday. Emily served as our membership VP while in Zeta and she was an integral part of our growing chapter. She embodied the spirit of Gamma Sigma Sigma. As a person and friend, Emily always put others before herself and cared deeply for all those in her life. Emily will be greatly missed by her fellow sisters of Zeta. Please keep Emily, her mother and their family in your thoughts and prayers during this heartbreaking time.
    by Gamma Sigma Sigma Zet... via Facebook

    Terribly sorry to hear about Yvonne and Emily Selke, two Virginians killed in the France plane crash.
    France cracks open plane’s black box, seals off crash site
    AP 

    SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) — French investigators cracked open the badly damaged black box of a German jetliner on Wednesday and sealed off the rugged Alpine crash site where 150 people died when their plane slammed into a mountain.

    The cockpit voice recorder was being mined by investigators for clues into what sent the Germanwings Airbus 320 into a mid-flight dive Tuesday after pilots lost radio contact over the southern French Alps during a routine flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

    Helicopters surveying the scattered debris lifted off at daybreak, and crews traveled slowly over land to the remote crash site through fresh snow and rain, threading their way to the craggy ravine. Bereaved families and the French, German and Spanish leaders were expected later Wednesday.

    “The black box is damaged and must be reconstituted in the coming hours in order to be useable,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio.

    Key to the investigation is what happened the two minutes of 10:30 a.m. and 10:31 a.m., said Segolene Royal, a top government minister whose portfolio includes transport. From then on, air traffic controllers were unable to make contact with the plane.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

    AP UPDATE: Crash victims’ relatives fly to site

    11:39 a.m. (1039 GMT, 6:39 a.m. EDT)

    A Lufthansa plane carrying 62 relatives of victims who will visit the plane crash site in the French Alps has arrived in Marseille on a flight from Barcelona.

    Lufthansa says they will meet up with 14 others who decided not to fly to France and instead took an overnight bus from Barcelona provided by the airline.

    The airline said the relatives will be taken together “to the closest point possible to the accident zone, taking into account the difficult access conditions.” Part of the zone is closed to everyone except crash investigators and experts removing remains of the victims.

    French prosecutor: Germanwings co-pilot appeared to want to ‘destroy the plane’ .
    UPDATE: 3 Americans now believed were aboard doomed flight

    Three Americans were presumed dead in the plane crash in the southern French Alps, including a U.S. government contractor and her daughter, the State Department said Wednesday.

    Identified victims were Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, an employee for 23 years at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. The U.S. government did not identify the third American it said was on the plane.
    Official: 1 pilot locked out of Alpine crash plane cockpit
    AP 

    PARIS (AP) — One of the pilots of the German airliner that crashed in the Alps was apparently locked out of the cockpit when the plane went down, an official with knowledge of black box audio recordings said Thursday.

    The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the details emerged from cockpit audio recovered from the mangled black box found among the debris of the aircraft. It was unclear which pilot may have been outside.

    The CEO of Lufthansa, which owns budget carrier Germanwings, has described the pilots as “experienced and trained.” The co-pilot was just 18 months out of flight school.

    The Airbus A320, on a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, inexplicably began to descend from cruising altitude after losing radio contact with ground control and slammed into a remote mountainside in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

    A French prosecutor says the co-pilot of the plane that crashed in the Alps deliberately set the plane's controls to descend, ABC reports.

    Two Virginia women killed in the French alps plane crash are remembered fondly by neighbors, WTOP's Kristi King reports.

    Prosecutor says co-pilot purposely crashed plane

    12:57 a.m. (1157 GMT 7:57 EDT)

    Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin says pounding could be heard on the door during the final minutes as alarms sounded. He said the co-pilot “voluntarily” refused to open the door, and his breathing was normal throughout the final minutes of the flight.

    He identified the pilot as a German national and who had never been flagged as a terrorist.

    ___

    12:51 a.m. (1151 GMT 7:51 EDT)

    French prosecutor says Germanwings co-pilot appeared to want to “destroy the plane.” Prosecutor says information was pulled from the black box cockpit voice recorder, but the co-pilot did not say a word once the captain left the cockpit. “It was absolute silence in the cockpit,” he said.

    ___

    12:46 a.m. (1146 GMT 7:46 a.m. EDT)

    says the co-pilot was alone at the controls of the Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside and “intentionally” sent the plane into the doomed descent.

    Get the latest on this developing story on WTOP.com.

    The co-pilot of the plane that crashed in the Alps deliberately set the plane's controls to descend, a French prosecutor says.

    AP UPDATE: Lufthansa chief has no clue to co-pilot’s motive

    2:39 p.m. (1339 GMT 4:39 a.m. EDT)

    The chief executive of Lufthansa says he is “stunned” by a French prosecutor’s conclusion that the co-pilot of a Germanwings plane intentionally caused Tuesday’s crash which killed 150 people.

    Germanwings is Lufthansa’s budget-price subsidiary.

    Chief executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference in Cologne, Germany that “we choose our staff very, very carefully.” He says the airline had no indication of why the co-pilot would have crashed the plane. He said pilots undergo yearly medical examination but that doesn’t include psychological tests.

    Pilot learned to fly glider as teen, seemed happy with job

    MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — According to those who taught Andreas Lubitz how to fly, there was never a sign that he was anything but thrilled to have landed a job as a co-pilot with Germanwings.

    But French prosecutors now say Lubitz “intentionally” crashed Flight 9525 into the side of a mountain in France this week after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.

    Lubitz began flying gliders as a teenager from a grass runway in the hills of western Germany. Members of his hometown flight club say when he came back to the club last fall to renew his gilder pilots’ license, he appeared to be happy with the job he began a year earlier.

    A longtime member of the glider club says he “can’t remember anything where something wasn’t right” with Lubitz.

    The club’s chairman is rejecting the conclusion that Lubitz intentionally brought down the plane.

    At the house believed to be the one where his parents live, the curtains are drawn and four police cars are parked outside. Police are keeping reporters away. Neighbors refused to comment.

    The airline says Lubitz trained in Germany before starting to fly for Germanwings in September of 2013. A glider club member says Lubitz also trained in Arizona. According to the airline, he had logged 630 hours of flight time before the crash.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

    Co-pilot was ‘very happy’ with Germanwings job

    AP 

    MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — Andreas Lubitz never showed any sign he was anything but thrilled to have landed a job with Germanwings, according to those who taught him the trade as a teenager in this town in the woody hills of Western Germany.

    On Thursday, French prosecutors said Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, “intentionally” crashed the jet into the side of a mountain.

    Members of the hometown flight club in Montabaur, where he renewed his glider license only last fall, told The Associated Press the 28-year-old appeared to be happy with the job he had at the airline, a low-cost carrier in the Lufthansa Group.

    After starting his job with Germanwings in September 2013, Lubitz was upbeat when he returned to the LSC Westerwald e.V glider club in the fall to renew his glider pilots’ license with 20 or so takeoffs.

    “He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well,” said longtime club member Peter Ruecker, who watched him learn to fly. “He was very happy. He gave off a good feeling.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

    Authorities say cockpit door could only be blocked manually

    SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France (AP) — A French prosecutor says only a deliberate action by the co-pilot of a doomed Germanwings plane could have kept the pilot from regaining access.

    The co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, is now believed to have deliberately flown the plane into a mountain, after locking the pilot out. The pilot had left, presumably to go to the lavatory. The crash killed all 150 people on board.

    The Airbus A320 is designed with safeguards to allow emergency entry if a pilot inside is unresponsive. But the override code that is known to the crew does not go into effect — and indeed goes into a lockdown — if the person inside the cockpit specifically denies entry. That’s according to an Airbus training video and a pilot who has six years of experience with the jets.

    In the United States, in the aftermath of 9/11, airlines are required to have two people in the cockpit at all times. If a pilot or co-pilot leaves, another crew member enters the cockpit until that person returns.

    But airlines in Europe don’t have the same requirement.

    AP UPDATE: School head says news makes crash even worse

    The principal of Joseph Koenig High School in Haltern, Germany, which lost 16 students and two teachers in the Germanwings crash, says the state governor call him with news that the cause “was without a doubt suicide.”

    Ulrich Wessel told reporters: “I gave this information to my colleagues immediately, and they were just as stunned as I was. I told them it is much, much worse than we had thought. It doesn’t make the number of dead any worse, but if it had been a technical defect then measures could have been taken so that it would never happen again.

    A French prosecutor says the co-pilot deliberately cause the crash which took 150 lives.

    Norwegian Air orders 2 crew to remain in cockpits during flights

     Europe’s third largest budget airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, says it plans to adopt new rules requiring two crew members to always be present in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.

    The decision was taken on Thursday after details emerged that the co-pilot of the Germanwings Flight 9525 that crashed in France on Tuesday had apparently locked himself in the cockpit.

    Pilot's actions rare, blow to pilots around the globe - Mark Rosenker, CBS News aviation security analyst and former NTSB chairman

    Security precautions differ in U.S., elsewhere - March Schiavo, former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation

    American crash victims US government contractor, daughter
    (AP Photo/Xela Batchelder) 

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Three Americans were presumed dead in the plane crash in the southern French Alps, including a U.S. government contractor and her daughter, the State Department said Wednesday.

    Identified victims were Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, an employee for 23 years at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. The U.S. government did not identify the third American it said was on the plane.

    Yvonne Selke performed work under contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s satellite mapping office, Booz Allen and the Defense Department confirmed in statements after the AP had reported her identity and employment.

    “Every death is a tragedy, but seldom does a death affect us all so directly and unexpectedly,” NGA Director Robert Cardillo said. “All of us offer our deepest condolences and will keep her family and her colleagues in our thoughts.

    Booz Allen’s chief personnel officer, Betty Thompson, described Selke as “a wonderful co-worker and a dedicated employee who spent her career with the firm.”

    Friends and co-workers of Selke’s circulated a photograph of her showing a smiling, middle-aged woman with brown hair and eyeglasses, and a photo of Emily showing a blond young woman with dark eyes and a bright smile. They described Selke as a diligent and generous worker who regularly brought cookies to co-workers.

    A person who answered the phone at Selke’s home said the family was not providing any information.

    Emily Selke was a “go-getter” who was interested in festival management while in school, said Xela Batchelder, a Drexel professor who taught her. Batchelder said Emily Selke participated in Fringe University, which holds courses around the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an arts festival in Scotland. She also helped put together the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

    Mentally stable at 38,000 feet: Can you trust your pilot? 

    Airline pilots are supposed to be the ones we trust.

    They greet us at the door of the plane in their crisp, military-style uniforms, then welcome us aboard with that familiar soothing drawl over the PA system as we buckle ourselves in. When there’s turbulence, they offer reassurance. And when the plane safely touches down, they invite us to fly with them again.

    Now, that feeling of security has taken a hit.

    Investigators say the co-pilot of a Germanwings airliner locked the pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the jet in the French Alps, killing all 150 people aboard.

    “In the near term, pilots will be looked at with a bit more suspicion,” said former US Airways pilot John M. Cox, now CEO of the consulting firm Safety Operating Systems. “This rogue pilot is not the first one and sadly will not be the last one.

    Read the full story here
    CBS news special report: Prosecutors says co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had an existing mental illness and had been undergoing treatment for it. It's also possible he hid the illness from employers. Investigators say no religious or political issues connected to Lubitz.
    After Germanwings crash, Denmark wants 2 crew in cockpit

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark’s transport minister says a recommendation will be sent Friday to all airlines with a base in the Scandinavian country to have two people in the cockpit when in the air.

    Airlines and officials around the world are starting to impose the rule after details emerged that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 had apparently locked himself in the cockpit and deliberated crashed the plane into the mountains below.

    Transport Minister Magnus Heunicke said in a live television interview with the TV2 channel that the Danish Transport Authority also would review all physical and mental tests of pilots flying to and from Denmark. German news media have depicted co-pilot Andreas Lubitz as a man with a history of depression who had received psychological treatment.

    12:45 p.m. (1145 GMT, 7:45 a.m. EDT)

    German prosecutors say they have found evidence that the co-pilot of the Germanwings plan which crashed in the French Alps appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers.

    Prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf say they seized medical documents from the home of Andreas Lubitz that indicate “an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment.”

    Prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement Friday that torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash “support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues.”

    He said the search of Lubitz’s home revealed no suicide note or evidence of any political or religious motivation for his actions.

    French pilots suing over leaks in German jet crash probe
    AP 

    PARIS (AP) — France’s leading pilots union said Friday it is filing a lawsuit over leaks about the investigation into the crash of a German jet into the French Alps.

    Pilots around Europe are angry that information about the final moments of the flight was reported in the media before prosecutors and others were informed. Pilots are concerned that the circumstances of Tuesday’s crash will damage public trust.

    After leaks in the media about the crash, a prosecutor announced that cockpit recordings indicate the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 jet intentionally flew the plane into a mountain. All 150 aboard were killed.

    Guillaume Schmid of France’s SNPL union told The Associated Press on Friday that the lawsuit is over violating a French law on keeping information about investigations secret while they are ongoing. The lawsuit doesn’t name an alleged perpetrator, a method in French law that leaves investigators to determine who is at fault.

    “We can understand there is a certain pressure, a wish to know,” Schmid said — but he warned that leaking information too early can mislead the public instead of informing accurately.

    Read more on WTOP.com.

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