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CONNECT THE WORLD
Germanwings Crash Ruled "Deliberate Act." Aired 11:00-12:00p ET
Aired March 26, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:03] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And you're watching CNN. This is breaking news and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
We begin with new revelations about the crash of the Germanwings flight 9525. The lead investigator says it appears the crash, which killed
150 people, was a deliberate act by the co-pilot.
About an hour ago the CEO of Germanwings's parent company Luftansa said he's been left speechless by what took place inside that cockpit.
I want to break down some of the key details that we've just learned from the public prosecutor in Marseilles. First, the co-pilot identified
as German national Andreas Lubitz is said to have deliberately descended the plane.
Also, investigators say he took advantage, quote, of a moment when the plane's captain had left the cockpit to lock him out. All this information
gathered from the plane's cockpit voice recorder.
Now Lubitz passed all flight and medical examinations and was 100 percent fit to fly, according to airline officials.
So why do investigators believe he crashed the plane? Well, they are still trying to figure that out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRICE ROBIN, MARSEILLES PROSECUTOR (through translator): When you are responsible for 150 people behind you I don't call that a suicide,
that's why I didn't use the word, but indeed one might ask oneself such a question, I understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, we can only imagine that this is an unbearable time for the families of those who were killed who are now coping with the news
that officials believe that the plane was crashed deliberately.
Some victims' loved ones are being taken to an area near the crash site. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live from Lavernay in France -- Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Becky. In just a few minutes, we're expecting the families to arrive here. Behind me in
the field there are already emergency service workers there, medical personnel there.
Luftansa has arranged, as we know, for families to fly from Barcelona and to fly from Dusseldorf to Marseilles. They're being transported here.
This location here is the closest place that they will be taken to by Luftansa to the closest place to the crash site.
We're expecting here to be a memorial service, that there is a memorial stone with the names of the passengers no that stone. We're
seeing bouquets of flowers being carried in here. We're also seen flags, large flags, representing all the nation, different nations of the people
who were on board the aircraft. We've seen those flags being hung out in the field there.
Those families are -- these are the families who will be arriving here shortly. These are the ones who are coming organized by Luftansa.
But already we're told that there are three families here who have come privately by their own means. They wanted to get as close as they can
to the crash site. They want to learn as much as they can. And of course we now know from the prosecutor today that these families will also know
the information that everyone else knows that the plane was crashed intentionally by the pilot. So arriving here, they will no doubt have
many, many more questions from was originally anticipated when this was being organized just yesterday, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, the picture of which you are seeing there on the right
side of your screens. The crash site there in the French Alps.
Named as Andreas Lubitz appeared to want to, quote, destroy that plane according to officials in news conferences we had here in the past couple
of hours that we've been showing on CNN.
Nic, the families -- or some of the families as you point out will be arriving there to what will be a memorial site behind you. Meantime, over
36 hours emergency workers have been trying to scale these incredibly steep mountains to get to the area where the plane went down.
What's reaction been like to the news today about this being a deliberate activities
ROBERTSON: Well, the reaction has been one of shock. I mean, everyone you talk to here is just absolutely is shocked as the CEO of
Germanwings Luftansa has been. What we are seeing here is the continuing flights of the helicopters, a very tough task because if you look at the
mountains behind me when the helicopters take off from that field where we've seen them taking off for the last day or so, they fly along a large
valley and then up into the mountains behind us here because it is just a few miles behind me, the steep sided ravine that the plane crashed into.
And the helicopters, of course, when they fly up there, they're not able to land. The sides of the valley are too close, so they to slowly
winch in each of the recovery workers, a laborious and slow process. It slows the speed. It limits how much equipment they can take in and
therefore limits their time on the ground, the number of people on the ground and the speed with which they can do the recovery.
So the families that are coming here today, we've heard from the prosecutor a little earlier telling us that none of the bodies of the
victims will be released to the families now. It will likely take several more weeks and part of the process identification as one can expect in a
situation like this will be DNA identification. So this is going to be a slow process.
So, for the families coming here today, many questions seeking solace, a chance to be as close, perhaps for now as they can to their loved ones
and also so many questions, Becky.
[11:06:09] ANDERSON: Yeah. And one of the details of the investigation, what happens next?
ROBERTSON: Well, the investigation -- there's a criminal investigation and the prosecutor said this is not a suicide when there are
152 people on board, it's -- you are effectively killing, murdering all those people. This is a criminal investigation so the prosecutor said it's
considering whether or not this will constitute manslaughter. So the accident site already the subject of the criminal investigation, that's why
the location of the bodies that have been discovered so far they have to be marked, the locations recorded, medical details recorded on the
mountainside, because this will be part of a criminal process, but also obviously the air accident investigation process and teams are working side
by side in the mountains with them as well.
But it really does put, if you will, a stronger emphasis on the criminal investigation and also a very strong emphasis to find that other
data recorder, the one that records the information of the instruments aboard the aircraft, this is the data recorder that President Francois
Hollande yesterday said the box which contained it had been recovered, but the device itself was still missing. No new information about that we've
had down here so far today, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson at the scene for you. Thank you, Nic.
There has been no motive offered for what officials now say was a deliberate act.
Joining me now to discuss that and other aspects of what is this puzzling crash is aviation expert Julian Bray. He joins us via Skype from
Cambridge in England.
I want to bring up a photograph of the co-pilot who we now know deliberately took this plane into an activated descent.
What happened, do you believe?
JULIAN BRAY, AVIATION EXPERT: Well, that is the $64,000 question, isn't it, because by all accounts the prosecutor this morning gave a very
lucid account of what was actually on the audio tape. You have to remember he hasn't actually listened to the tape, but he got a written transcript.
And it's a very details press conference this morning when he actually said that there was a normal exchange of conversation, professional banter
between the two, between the pilot and the co-pilot. But the moment the pilot left the flight deck, the door was locked and the dials were
manipulated to put the aircraft into the crash position, if you like.
It was a gradual descent straight into the top of the mountain. It hit rock. It slid off the rock. It then slid down the mountain, breaking
up as it -- and it must have really impacted on the top at speed. And the detail was quite amazing, because they say they can hear the breathing of
Meanwhile, the pilot is frantically trying to get back in. He's tried the key codes on the outside, but unfortunately the co-pilot, who is on his
own, had actually locked -- electronically locked and manually locked that door. Nobody was getting in.
ANDERSON: What could the passengers and other crew have done, if anything, at that point?
BRAY: It's a difficult one, because following 9/11 what they did of course was actually strengthen the doors. They used to say it's harder to
get into the toilets than to get onto the flight deck, but all that changed of course. And so now you have the situation where for security, for your
security they have actually put these extra locks on the doors and you cannot get through it.
I seem to remember when I was a young chap actually going on the flight deck and it's a regular thing the pilots would show you around and
that's it. That's all part of the romance of flying.
But all that has changed now.
The only thing they can do, and this is going to be a very unpopular move, is to actually make sure there are three trained pilots actually on
the flight deck instead of two. So you could call one a navigator if you like. But of course the idea of computing is to actually cut down the
number of humans you actually need to fly the plane.
[11:10:49] ANDERSON: Sure.
What we're seeing as you speak to me, sir, are shots of a plane very similar to that which went down showing just outside of the door and indeed
inside the cockpit where there is that release button, which allows the person inside the cockpit to actually look the door.
So, let's go through, then, sir, I'm going to get some more thought from you here, more of what the Marseilles prosecutor told us about what
they've learned so far.
The point at which the pilot was outside of this cockpit we were told, and I quote, that the co-pilot is now controlling the plane himself while
he is alone. The co-pilot presses the buttons of the flight monitoring system to put into action the descent of the airplane.
And what we are told today is that this action on the altitude controls can only be deliberate. The most plausible interpretation is that
the co-pilot through a voluntary act, had refused to open the cabin door to let the cabin in.
What were your thoughts when you heard that?
BRAY: Well, if you replay what -- in your mind what might have happened. So he leaves -- the pilot, the experienced pilot -- he might
have been a training pilot, for all we know, because he adds lots of -- done many thousands of hours on his record. He leaves to go to the
Now depends how long you take in the bathroom. So immediately he's gone from the flight deck. The aircraft was put into this controlled
So say he was outside and he chats to the cabin staff. So he might have been out there for, say, three, four, five minutes. We don't know.
The total time this controlled descent was eight minutes.
So he goes back. Then starts knocking on the door. So that might take another minute. Then he starts trying to reason with the man. And
then he gets louder. So we're now up to about seven minutes in my time frame.
And all this is conjecture, of course.
And then suddenly he realizes that there is something really wrong here and starts shouting and banging. And at this point, the passengers
suddenly realize there's something wrong and they start screaming, shouting. And it's actually picked up by the black box audio. So it must
have been really loud actually in the cabin itself.
So there's not much they can do, because there's not much room. So you can try to shoulder charge these doors, but really you need something
like crowbars or vacuum equipment to actually pry the thing open.
It is a big worry. And Luftansa will be mortified in more ways than one that this has happened.
Now somebody actually mentioned that they don't get psychological testing. That's not strictly true. Every time they go for their simulator
event, which is every six months I think it is, they are actually put through psychological testing in a very gentle form, because the examiner
is waiting to see what the reactions are like of this person. If they are at all hesitant, unsure, whatever there could be a psychological cause
So it's not strictly true say they don't get psychologically tested. They are. But there might be somebody might say they ought to be tested
every three months and the annual medical ought to be six months.
ANDERSON: Well, these are all questions I'm sure that the -- not just the airline, but other airlines will be asking themselves today.
Well, I can tell you again from the Marseilles prosecutor who we heard from in the past couple of hours is that passengers were not aware of the
impending crash, quote, until the very last moment when screams could be heard, adding that they would have died instantly.
And sir, we thank you very much indeed for joining us. It's clearly much of what we are discussing will continue to be speculation to some
degree although now we've at least got a little more information from the prosecutor in France as to what they know happened on the plane according
to one of the recorders on the flight.
So second black box that records flight data, of course, has still not been found.
We're going to keep a close eye on this story for you throughout the hour here on Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. We'll take you to
Germany where questions are clearly being asked about the co-pilot's fitness to fly. And airline chiefs are on the defensive. We'll hear from
CNN's Richard Quest about what this disaster means for Germanwings and its parent company Luftansa.
And we'll follow up on that incredible press conference in Marseilles where the accusations against the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz first emerged.
Well, the other big story that we are following for you tonight, the conflict that is once again dividing Yemen. And how a rebellion there is
drawing in its neighbors. Arab states line up to support Saudi Arabia's air strikes on Yemen's rebels. The U.S. also (inaudible) Riyadh as Iran
reacts seriously. We have the very latest on what is a brewing regional proxy war.
We're taking a very short break. Back after this.
[11:18:38] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is 18 minutes past 7:00 in the
UAE where we are broadcasting from.
I want to update you now on the investigation into the crash of Germanwings flight 9525. The public prosecutor in Marseilles says the 28
year old co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane killing all 150 people on board -- 144 passengers and six crew.
He's been identified as Andreas Lubitz. This is him here in a photograph. The German national, he is said to have intentionally
descended the plane and locked the captain out of the flight of the cockpit. That information gathered from the plane's cockpit voice
Airline officials say Lubitz passed all flight and medical examinations, wasn't on any terror lists and was 100 percent fit to fly.
Well, let me take you to the crash support site where Luftansa, which owns Germanwings has arranged for two special flights for families and
friends on Thursday, one from Barcelona and one from Dusseldorf to Marseilles. And both groups traveled then by road separately. Some
relatives who didn't want to fly traveling by bus from Barcelona.
And you can see some of those relatives now arriving at the area of the crash.
Understandably this site will be memorialized to those victims. As the investigation continues, the voice recorder of course found in a very
deteriorated state, but clearly the public prosecutor has had enough information from that to glean the information that we learned today.
The second black box that records flight data still not found.
Much of this information the relatives, we believe, do already know. They may know a lot more than that which has been released to the press.
It must be incredibly difficult for these, the friends and family of the crew and passengers aboard the Germanwings flight, the Airbus 320, which
was destined for Dusseldorf from Barcelona, which hit a mountain, killing all 144 passengers and six crew after what was an eight minute descent.
We'll bring you back to this scene a little later in the show.
At this point I want to get you to Marseilles where Karl Penhaul is standing by. That is in southern France where the public prosecutor
announced today, Karl, some pretty startling information, perhaps more information than we thought we would get at this point.
What else did we learn today?
[11:21:25] PENHAUL: Absolutely, Becky. When French prosecutor Brice Robin brief the press, journalists just stood there with their jaws open,
absolute bombshells he was dropping. And he went into much more detail than one would have expected. It was a very clear and frank press
conference, partially of course because he was under pressure after overnight leaks from somewhere in the investigation to the press giving out
already some of the details.
But we found out a lot more. You mentioned the families, of course. And Mr. Robin was very clear to say that prior to coming to talk to the
press, he had just briefed 200 relatives of the victims on that flight who had arrived at Marseilles airport coming from Dusseldorf and Barcelona.
Those are the ones who are now traveling to the scene of the crash.
But of course the headline here is that Mr. Robin said quite clearly that it -- the co-pilot who took a deliberate decision to crash the plane
into the Alps.
He detailed what he had heard or what he had read on a transcript of the voice cockpit recording. And he said for the first 20 minutes of the
flight everything was normal. It was a cordial and professional conversation between the pilot, his co-pilot. That conversation took place
But then the prosecutor says there was a change in tone of the conversation when the pilot began to brief the co-pilot on the procedures
for arriving at Dusseldorf Airport. And the co -- in the prosecutor's words the co-pilot then became laconic, answering only briefly.
After that point, the pilot stood up and you hear him leaving the cockpit, the door closes behind. And at that point, the co-pilot,
according to the prosecutor, takes manual control of the plane. He takes manual control of the levers, in the prosecutors words, and dialed in a
And then at some point during that eight minutes, the pilot tries to return to the cockpit. He tries to communicate over the video intercom
with the co-pilot. The co-pilot does not respond. And he doesn't let him back into the cockpit.
As the seconds go by, the pilot knocks on the door, then starts to hammer on the door, and finally tries to tear down the door, but he's
At the same time, the air traffic control trying to get in touch with the pilot, radioing them, telling them, asking them what is going on. And
the co-pilot doesn't respond.
And in the course of all this, however, because the questions from the media, the question also the prosecutor has, did the co-pilot fall sick?
And the prosecutor believes that no is the answer to that. He believes that the co-pilot remained conscious because he said his breathing remained
regular. There was no sign of panic and no sign of breathing consistent with the co-pilot having any kind of stroke or a heart attack or seizure,
that leads him to believe that it was a deliberate act.
And then the final seconds, well at that point, the voice recording you hear passengers beginning to scream. They, in the final seconds, were
aware of what was about to happen. There a first thud and that is when the plane hit the mountain. It bounces off and then once again crashes into
the mountain and finally disintegrates, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, remarkable information.
Karl Penhaul on the phone for you from Marseilles where we heard from the public prosecutor just a couple of hours ago.
We're back in Lavernay (ph) in France now where Nic Robertson is standing by, our senior international correspondent.
Nic, the families of the victims arriving at what is this crash support site. One can only imagine the atmosphere and the -- and what
these family members are going through.
You just describe what we're seeing.
[11:25:25] ANDERSON: Well, Becky, it's very somber and solemn here, I must say, to be standing here watching this. We've seen seven large 50-
seater, 52-seater buses arrive here under police escort, medical vehicles with them as well. They're high in the Alps here. Right now they are at
the closest location possible that French authorities can take them to to the crash site.
So those coaches appeared quite full. We saw the families, the relatives of the victims of this crash get off those buses. They've
walked, taken a short walk across a field. They're now standing with recovery workers and other officials here, local dignitaries, at a memorial
site. A plaque has been set up. They gathered around the area of the plaque at the moment.
As we understand the plaque has the names of all the passengers, all the victims who were aboard the plane when it crashed.
We've seen bouquets of flowers carried in. We've seen the flags representing the different nations of the people who died aboard the plane.
But this, for the families, this for right now will be as close as they will be able to get to their loved ones.
There will not be many answers here for them, and the prosecutor has said there will no bodies repatriated to the families today, or in the
coming days. The process is going to take a long time. But for right now, this really is going to be a very deep moment of meaning and reflection for
the families. And right now they've gathered around that memorial site.
This has been organized by Luftansa. And the French authorities have moved a huge number of people and resources to make this possible. A lot
of police here and a lot of people on hand to help medically, psychologically, emotionally with all of these families who are now
standing around the memorial site, Becky.
ANDERSON: Some of whom flew from either Barcelona or Dusseldorf, some of whom arrived by bus, did the journey by bus given that just some of
these family members simply didn't want to fly. And it's to the lefthand side. As you see, the families and the panning around here -- you can see
the families gathering at the point at which, as Nic pointed out, there is a memorial now to the victims of the Germanwings flight, the A320 going
down just a short distance away from this what they're now calling crash support site.
Stand by, Nic, I want to get back to Karl Penhaul in Marseilles as we look at these images.
Karl, I know that you have more information about just how quickly the bodies may be recovered. What do you know?
PENHAUL: Yes. Yes, exactly. And this is one of the key questions that family members had been asking the prosecutor just prior to his press
conference. As I say, he met over 200 relatives at Marseilles airport. And what he went on to tell the press was that of course it is a very
He described the terrain as extremely dangerous mountain range. That is why rescue crews are working very slowly. He said that investigators
are working in teams of two accompanied by mountain guides and specialists to guide them across the terrain, multiple teams have spread out to try and
identify body parts and also try to identify key parts of the aircraft.
And he said that literally in his words he said the recovery of the bodies would be done bit by bit, one by one, bag by bag. And he said if
those remains were then collected from the crash site, they would be put on stretchers. They would be taken site on the mountainside, which is being
used as a temporary morgue. That is where investigators will begin the process of identification and issue death certificates.
But he said that this is a process that could take several weeks.
At another point of his press briefing, he said it could be finished perhaps at the end of next week or at the end of the following week.
But in broad terms the idea that he was trying to get across is that it is extremely difficult terrain reading between the lines. He didn't
spell it out in such gruesome terms, but they don't appear to be much evidence of complete bodies. He was talking about body parts. Thus his
expression that the recovery was being done bit by bit and bag by bag.
A very sad, sad scene, but again he said that it was because of this treacherous terrain. And if there were any words of consolation for the
family, despite the fact that he did say they were aware just seconds before, that the plane was going to crash, he said that their deaths would
have been instantaneous, given that the aircraft is traveling at 700 kilometers an hour when it hit the ground, Becky.
[11:30:45] ANDERSON: Karl Penhaul is in Marseilles in France. The images that you are seeing here on your screens, viewers, are from Lavernay
in France, which is to the northeast from Marseilles. And these family members of the victims of the plane crash who have been bused or flown in
from either Dusseldorf or Barcelona by Luftansa, which is the parent company of Germanwings. And they are now gathered at a site very, very
close to the crash site where there is a memorial set up in honor of those victims.
Nic Robertson is there. And he joins us once again -- Nic.
ROBERTSON: Becky, this memorial service, it's still in process here. This is a moment -- and these fields are a place that the families are
likely going to want to linger for awhile. Once they leave here today, they will be taken care of by French officials. We are told that in the
local towns here there's been an outpouring of support for these family -- for these bereaved families, that their families here in this area have
opened up their homes and said, you know, if these families want to stay here they can stay in our homes.
But this will be the place that perhaps the families are going to remember for the next few weeks until this very difficult process for them
moves forward, because this is the field that's going to be closest for they will be able to get to, to the crash site at the moment. All the
helicopter resources here have been focused on that very arduous process of literally flying deep into the mountains just up above where this memorial
service has taken place. I can hear a helicopter up there now. This work doesn't stop. They've been flying into the deep ravined area where this
crash happened and lowering, winching, one by one, each of the recovery workers and the limited amount of equipment you can winch down slowly.
ANDERSON: Nic, I'm going to stop you there, sir. Nic Robertson is at the site where the families -- members of families of the victims are now
gathering. I want to just have Nic pause for a moment, because I believe that Angela Merkel is speaking. Let's listen in.
(GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL PRESS CONFERENCE)
[11:35:22] ANDERSON: Angela Merkel speaking as families of the victims of the Germanwings crash gather for a memorial service in Leverne
in France very close to the site at which that plane went down.
Nic Robertson is still with us. He's behind the camera. These are the images coming to us live as we speak.
Nic, I'm sorry I butted in while you were speaking as Angela Merkel started. Please continue.
ROBERTSON: Well, Angela Merkel's thoughts and sympathies are very relevant at this precise moment. It seems to have come as an absolute
shock to the leaders of these countries as to the people of the countries as to the passengers, to the relatives of the passengers.
We don't know precisely what's being said at the memorial right now. We don't know precisely what's happening inside that tight group of people,
but all those families who perhaps seeing each other now for the first time ever find themselves bonded, bonded in a grief and bonded in a shared sense
of loss and bemusement. They will be now listening perhaps to the comforting words of some of the French officials here who have gathered to
help them, but we also note that on hand here there are medical professionals, professionals trained in helping them understand the losses
that they're going through.
Also, translators have been brought in here today to help them. We know that many different nationalities are here -- were aboard the flight.
We've seen the flags around the memorial service today. We saw the American flag, the German flag, the Israeli flag, many other flags of the
different countries representing the different nationalities that people aboard the flight.
The memorial they're gathered around, we understand, has inscribed on it, already the names of everyone aboard the flight. We did see earlier a
big wreath being carried in. the French authorities were very concerned a little earlier today that the speed with which they could b ring the
families into the mountains here, they were concerned that they might arrive a little bit after dark. It will be getting dark here within the
next hour or so.
The concern was that the families wouldn't be here in time to really be able to see the mountains and to be able to get a sense of where this
tragedy took place.
What we have been told is this is the closest place that the families will be able to get to for now to the crash site. And every so often we
see helicopters disappearing into the high ravines behind -- behind where this memorial service is being taken place.
So, a very poignant moment for the families as well as each of those helicopters when they come by pass over.
Just last night, we heard that the authorities were beginning to bring out some of the -- some of the remains of the passengers aboard the
aircraft. We understand, also, from the prosecutor it's going to be a very long process before the families here will be able to repatriate their
But for the moment they're gathered here as they had been for the last number of minutes an opportunity to be as close as they can to the people
who have literally been ripped out of their lives so unexpectedly, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Lavernay in France where family members who Luftansa, the parent company of Germanwings has helped make their way
to the site from either Barcelona or Dusseldorf.
On a day and around just a couple of hours after, we learn more details of how the co-pilot of this flight was able to take a plane down
deliberately and murder 150 people, 144 passengers and six crew.
However, investigators and Luftansa officials say they don't know why Andreas Lubitz would want to crash that plane.
CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest joins me now live from New York with more.
And Richard as we stay on these images of the family members who have gathered for a memorial service so close to where family members lost their
lives. That really remains a very big question, doesn't it? Why did this happen? And a question which may remain unanswered for some time.
[11:40:01] RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We may never know, to be honest, Becky. The reason and the final understanding of
why Lubitz decided to commit -- as everybody now seems to agree suicide is an inappropriate word, mass murder is what we're talking about here. The
distance that they are from the relatives and the friends that you're seeing at the moment, it's close but it won't be close enough. What you
tend to find in these situations is that the family want to get as close, they want to get right up to the crash site itself, which is absolutely
impossible for them in the moment where everybody has to be helicopters and winched in. This is the best they're going to get for the time being.
And it's a testament in many ways to Luftansa's effeciency and Luftansa's abilities and the size and strength of the airline Becky that
within 48 hours of this event, they have manged to organize such an impressive array of facilities to bring people in.
Normally, Becky, you're still deep into the fog of confusion after this sort of incident if you think back to recent ones. But here, no, it's
been well ordered by the French government, the plaque is there, the wreathes are there, arrangement have been made, but nothing, Becky, nothing
prepares us to explain why Lubitz locked the captain -- and I'm just going to tell you what we heard from the press conferences, from the prosecutor,
he took it -- to use the words of the prosecutor, he took advantage of the captain leaving the cockpit. He locked the door. He selected -- he dialed
in the descent. And we know now how he did it. He did it on the auto- pilot. He changed the auto-pilot from 38,000 feet to 96 feet and thereby initiated a descent of 3,000 feet a minute.
I consider it deliberate, say the prosecutor. His breathing was normal. There was not a terrorist activity.
Luftansa's CEO says he's speechless, Becky, and frankly one could understand why.
ANDERSON: What happens next?
QUEST: What happens next falls into two categories. Firstly, there is the recovery of remains. It's going to be exceptionally difficult, as
Nic Robertson has been telling us, flying the helicopters in and flying the remains, that which they can, the disintegration, obliteration is the word
being used, flying anything that they can out is going to be time consuming, assuming the weather cooperates. That's on the one side.
But, Becky, you now have an investigation organized by -- you have a criminal investigation by the Germans, but let's face it, Lubitz is dead so
that's not going to go too far. You have an investigation into how this was allowed to happen and could it have been prevented. That's the BEA and
X13 investigation. And there we will see fruits, maybe not immediately, but the core questions, I can tell you now, will delve into these issues.
Number one, why the access mechanisms for getting into a cockpit. Number two, why was there no two person rule in Luftansa, and in many
European airlines in these situations. That is going to be the focus of attention. It'll be very similar to 9/11, Becky, securing the cockpit but
not making it so secure that you can't get in if there's an emergency as there was in this case.
ANDERSON: Richard, thank you. Richard Quest is in New York following the story. We're in Lavernay in France with Nic Robertson. We're also in
Marseilles in the south of France where the public prosecutor revealed so many details of what they believe actually happened in the cockpit and on
that plane in the moments before its deliberate descent by the co-pilot.
I want to bring Karl back as we stay with these images of the memorial service for the family and friends of those who have lost their lives.
Karl, much of what we have learned or pretty much all of what we have learned comes from the original cockpit voice recorder, which was actually
recovered very quickly from the site. What of the investigation going forward? What else was said and when can we expect to hear more?
PENHAUL: Yeah, absolutely. All this information that we're getting to date is coming from the cockpit voice recorder. Now the French
prosecutor Brice Robin said that he really only got a (inaudible) transcript of what had gone on on the voice recorder in the early hours of
this morning. And so it really shows the speed with which the French prosecutor put together his press conference after those leaks to the
press, giving some hint that something was untoward in terms of this accident.
But going forward, what Mr. Robin was at pains to point out was that he opens his investigation, an investigation into what he terms involuntary
manslaughter. And he said so far he has not changed the status of that investigation, but he said in the course of the afternoon he would be
reviewing this information and any other information with his investigation team and could quite possibly then determine to change the description and
the status of the investigation.
Presumably one would think that some kind of murder investigation.
Now when we were asking the French prosecutor about the background of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who is 28 years old, and we're told has 100
hours of experience flying this particular model of Airbus, overall 630 flight hours under his belt. He said that what he would be interested in
over the next few hours would be coordinating with German authorities so that they would delve deeper in Lubitz's background.
He said that the French authorities would join that investigation at some point, that believe German and French authorities they could be
looking to question the families of both the co-pilot and the pilot to see if they can come up with some of these answers.
But initially what the prosecutor said was he said that he can find no evidence that this was in his words a terrorist act. He didn't come up
with any other explanation, because time and time again what he was pressed by journalists do you think quite simply the co-pilot could have fallen
ill? He said, no, I do not believe that, that is not plausible, because based on the sounds of the co-pilot breathing. He said that that was
normal and nothing to indicate that he had suffered a seizure or a stroke or any form of heart attack.
He says he believes that the co-pilot was conscious when he drove that plane to smash down into the Alps.
In addition, of course, to the investigation going on into who is responsible and why, precisely the motivation behind this crash, of course
(inaudible) taken to identified the bodies, to recover them. He said in fact the first human remains had been recovered from the flight yesterday
afternoon. He said that (inaudible) will continue and also while family members are at the site of the crash in the course of the day, he said some
of them may also be asked to contribute DNA samples to help in the process of identification of bodies, Becky.
[11:48:13] ANDERSON: Karl Penhaul with the details from Marseilles in France where the public prosecutor today revealed in quite shocking detail
what we do know to date about exactly what happeened on that flight, that A320, the Germanwings flight before it went down in these, the French Alps.
The French prosecutor leading the investigation says it appears the co-pilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and then deliberately caused
the descent of that plane. That co-pilot has been identified as 28-year- old German national Andreas Lubitz.
Germanwings says Lubitz had worked with the company since September 2013 and had more than 600 hours of flight time. There's been no motive
offered yet for his actions.
And these in Lavernay, France, the family members, the friends and family of those who died on that flight, who will be asking themselves the
same question why. What happened?
The prosecutor says that screaming can only be heard on the plane's voice recording in the very last moments before the crash. He says death
would have been instantaneous for those on board.
Well, that will not help, I'm sure, those who are gathered at what is a memorial now in the south of France. Sorry, in the Alps, in the
southeast of France.
Nic Robertson is there. And, Nic, what are the plans? I mean, Richard Quest and I were just discussing how efficient French authorities
and the German Airline Luftansa, which is the parent of Germanwings, have been in actually organizing this for so many of the families and friends.
What happens next? Just give us a sense of the schedule here.
[11:50:09:] ROBERTSON: Well, Becky. The families are being given an opportunity to stay in the area, in the region. We know from the local
mayor that hundreds, he said hundreds of local residents have spontaneously offered up rooms, their homes, their houses, their hearts, open their
hearts to the families who have come here today, that perhaps some of the families will decide to do that, others may take accommodation back where
they flew into the country in Nice.
But what we know and what we've seen here with the families is today they've been walking up one by one to the memorial that's in the middle
here. It has the names of all the victims.
But this -- while they're here in these -- while they are here in these mountains, this will be the moment where they are closest to the
crash site. And they only have to look up and above themselves and around. Just to set the scene for you here. There are about 1,300 meters, for
about 4,500 feet up in the mountains here. But as they look up, they will be able to see the trees, the mountains, the forests. They will be able to
see the snow-covered mountain peaks. They will be able to see the steep ridgelines.
And they'll also be able to see the mist that slowly creeps down off those snow fields, because it is those mists that potentially the fog
there, potentially that can hamper the investigation. We're seeing what we're looking at here now is about as close as we're able to get our
cameras at the moment to look to where the crash took place.
In the -- above that ridgeline, above the sort of -- the ridgeline, the second ridgeline you can see before the distant -- before the distant
rock face. It's in here that the helicopters and the recovery mission have been flying.
So, for the families, they only have to look up from where they are at the moment to be able to see that. And it's really for them the first time
that they will see really face-to-face if you will just the type of terrain that the aircraft came down in and of course for them being here several
hundred feet -- hundreds and hundreds of meters below where the crash site took place, it may not be close enough. But it's bringing them to, if you
will, to the environment where this tragedy took place, where this horrible event took place.
So while they're here, the very moving moments that they will get to walk up to the memorial, to read the names of their own loved ones, to
connect, if you will, in a different way than they've been able to do now with the loss, but also connect in a bigger way and see the environment and
see the scale of what the recovery workers continue to tell us that they are working in that they are struggling in these conditions to literally
fly where it is not possible to land, it's not even possible to put a road in there is how locals have described it to us, very inhospitable terrain.
We'll feel the chill as well late this afternoon now, the chill coming down that really signals again another problem for the recovery workers as
the terrain freezes high in the mountains, that makes it even harder for them to move around.
So, there will be a full appreciation of how long this process of recovering their loved ones is going to take -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Well, it's 16:53 in the afternoon in Lavernay in France and the scenes you're looking at very close to the crash site of that
Germanwings flight. As close as these family members will be able to get at least for the time being, and a memorial service that Nic has been
describing for you.
We get you back to Marseilles just before we hit the top of the hour here. And Karl Penhaul still there and standing by for you.
Karl, any sense of how quickly we may get more information from the prosecutor? I know I think I'm correct in saying that they now have lent
on the FBI and the United States to help out, correct?
PENHAUL: Yeah, absolutely. We have in the past few moments learned the fact that the French authorities are now asking for the help of the
FBI. Of course, it's (inaudible) the FBI is investigating authority and in France (inaudible) essentially the French calling in their American
The Germans, of course, also involved. And we've also heard from the Spanish -- from the French prosecutor that he is calling for the opening of
an international inquiry, into this crash as well.
Now, in terms of when are we going to get any updates on this information? Well, of course as the prosecutor pointed out, rescuers and
investigators are still hoping to find the second black box, the flight data recorder. This -- the current information is coming from the cockpit
voice recorder, still looking for that second black box down at the crash site, which could shed additional light on the conditions in which this
crash took place.
And in terms of (inaudible) the press, well, at one point the prosecutor smiled (ph) to the press and he said it's only been 48 hours
into the crash. I think I've done pretty well keeping you up to speed with developments. He said that he wanted to be (inaudible) about what has been
discovered (inaudible) discovered.
But (inaudible), however, suggest that the press (inaudible) today. There are leaks in that investigation lead to some media reports overnight
suggesting that one of the pilots had been locked out of the cockpit and the prosecutor said he regretted those leaks, but nevertheless he will
continue his work -- Becky.
[11:56:06] ANDERSON: All right.
Karl, I just need to apologize to the viewers, the sound on your phone line is not great. But thank you.
I'm getting a majority of what you are saying, I'm sure the viewers are too.
Karl Penhaul is in Marseilles in France. Apologies for the quality of that line viewers.
The investigation into the crash of Germanwings flight 9525 is now focused on the co-pilot of the plane. The prosecutor in Marseilles says 28
year old German national Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane in the French Alps and that is where we are on these images from Lavernay in
It's 16:56. I just want to get back to Nic Robertson for his final thoughts as we close out this hour of CNN. Do stay with us, though. Robyn
Curnow will be up at the top of the hour.
Nic, you've been on this site and at the scene now for, what, 36 hours.
It does seem remarkable the amount that is actually been achieved given it was only, what, two days ago that we learned the horrifying news
that this plane had gone down.
So many details actually released today, but the big question still remains why, of course, Lubitz, who is presumed dead along with the 149
other people on this plane, just why he did it. And that will be a question these friends and family will be asking themselves.
Can you hear me, Nic?
ROBERTSON: Yes, Becky. We're just looking now at the first of these seven coaches pulling forward. The families have now been here for perhaps
close to an hour. They came here on buses organized by Luftansa. They have been standing at the memorial site where this recently constructed
memorial has been erected. It has the names of all the people who were aboard the aircraft who lost their lives. We've seen the family members
move forward one by one it seems.
What's been very significant about what we're watching today the numbers of French support officials that are here, the number of people
from the Red Cross, the number of police that are here, everything is being done to make this very emotional time for these families go as smoothly as
possible, give them the maximum amount of time here this site closest to where their loved ones perished. But it does appear as if perhaps that
time is drawing to a close as we see the buses organized here getting ready to take them off the mountains, Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Nic.
Nic Robertson there in Lavernay in France.
And for those who may not have seen this, Josh Earnest, the spokesman for the White House addressing the latest reports on the Germanwings crash
on CNN just now on our sister network CNN U.S. He says that there's no doubt that these early reports that we are hearing are chilling. He said
the U.S. at a range of levels has been in touch with French officials. Earnest repeated the NSC line, that it doesn't seem there is a nexus to
terrorism at this point in this investigation saying right now as it stands there is no nexus to terrorism, but it does not leave the window -- sorry,
it leaves the window open, because there is an ongoing investigation.
Investigators say audio from the plane's cockpit voice recorder revealed that Andreas Lubitz activated the plane's descent after locking
the captain out of the cockpit.
Germanwings parent company Luftansa arranged two flights for the families of the victims to visit the area that you've just been looking at
in Lavernay near the crash site.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.