How would you handle it if you were sitting on a plane and you looked up to see the pilot banging on the door begging to get back into the cockpit?
On Tuesday, March 24, a plane was heading from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany. The flight was already twenty minutes behind schedule at take off. Takeoff happened at 10:01 a.m. As the plane was taking off, the pilot, Capt. Patrick Sondenheimer, told the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, that he hadn’t gone to the bathroom while they were on the ground. Lubitz told him, “Don’t worry, you can go at anytime.”
At 10:27 a.m., the jet had reached the altitude of 38,000 ft.
One of the “black boxes” provided evidence that the seat was moved back as Sondenheimer got up to go to the bathroom, and then at 10:29 a.m. the jet began to descend. By 10:31 a.m. the jet was descending at a rate of 3,000 feet per minute. At 10:32 a.m. the “Sink Rate” alarm began to go off telling the aircraft they were in trouble. At 10:35 a.m. there is banging on the door and the pilot is yelling at the co-pilot to let him in. At 10:38 a.m. there is calm breathing heard of Lubitz, and the aircraft is at 11,400 feet. This is the last recorded data point from the plane tracking website. Then at 10:40 a.m., they believe they hear the wing of the jet scrape the side of the Alps. After that, there is one last moment of screaming from the passengers before the jet crashed.
The airline company had no report of Lubitz’s mental illness. If he had gone to a doctor on his own, he should have sent a self-report saying that he was inadequate to fly. It is claimed that he kept his depression to himself, and didn’t let his employers or professional environment know about it. However, there were two letters sent to his apartment over the last couple months telling him that he was not capable of flying. They believe this was due to his eye sight.
Also, since 9-11, aircraft have all been upgraded to have very heavy and almost indestructible doors between the cockpit and the passengers. This is the reason that the pilot could not get back in to take control of the jet.
All 150 passengers on the jet were killed. Most of the people on the plane were from Germany or Spain.