Germanwings Crash Latest

Serious Flight Safety Issues Identified By Initial Investigation As Prosecutor Reveals Potential Corporate Manslaughter Charges


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist aviation lawyers representing the families of victims killed in the Germanwings tragedy in the French Alps in March welcomed the latest information update from the Prosecutor but added that serious flight safety issues will need to be addressed as soon as possible.
The French Prosecutor held a special meeting in Paris today (June 11th) to provide the families with information and a progress report on the investigations.
The prosecutor revealed that:

  • There could potentially be corporate manslaughter charges against Lufthansa/Germanwings
  • There was clear evidence that the crash was pre-meditated and that the co-pilot had altered altitude controls on the previous in-bound flight
  • The co-pilot had seen 41 doctors in recent years but under German law none were able to alert his employers of his state of mind
  • He also had 10 sick days off in the month prior to the tragic flight, was on medication and should have been more regularly reviewed
  • The prosecutor added that the issue of medical checks needed to be rectified as soon as possible to improve flight safety.

Following today’s meeting, Irwin Mitchell and families they represent have praised the Prosecutor for his transparency and revealed hopes that all the families’ loved ones will be efficiently repatriated, so that they can be laid to rest.
Lawyers also welcomed news of potential corporate criminal action but added that the new information raised serious concerns about international flight safety and the health checks given to airline staff.
Clive Garner, Head of Aviation Law at UK law firm Irwin Mitchell, representing families who lost loved ones in the incident, said: “Several months on from this tragedy, the families we represent are still trying to come to terms with the sudden and terrible loss of their loved ones in such incredibly difficult circumstances. This will, no doubt, be a long and painful journey for them.
“We welcome the detailed information provided today about the events involving Germanwings Flight 9525, and the families we represent are pleased that the corporate responsibility of the airline is being taken so seriously.
“However, the news regarding the extent of Andreas Lubitz' medical history and the severity of his condition raises very serious questions about how the fitness of commercial airline pilots should be assessed in future.”
Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Aviation Law team, added: “Sadly this is not the first time that the deliberate acts of a pilot flying a commercial airliner have caused loss of life to the passengers and crew who they had a duty to protect.
“We strongly believe that urgent consideration should be given to introducing a system of regular and thorough psychiatric examination of commercial pilots by appropriate medical experts to complement the current physical examination regime. This will have the aim of identifying those pilots at risk of psychiatric illness, so that early and appropriate actions, including treatment, can be implemented to ensure that pilots flying commercial aircraft are both physically and mentally fit to fly.”
Garner added, " We also welcome the Prosecutor's suggestion that existing rules of medical confidentiality should be re-considered, not least to reduce the risk of another aviation tragedy like this occurring in the future."
Among Irwin Mitchell’s clients is Philip Bramley, the father of British student Paul Bramley who died aged 28 in the crash.
Following today’s meeting, he said: “As a family we are still attempting to come to terms with losing Paul and we miss him every day. We do appreciate however the continued updates regarding investigations.
"Nothing could have prepared us for the information that this was no doubt carried out in a premeditated way and planned in every detail.  I was shocked to learn that 41 doctors had seen Andreas Lubitz on previous occasions
“Our only hope is that something can be done to stop anyone else from having to face what we and the other families have been through. Everything possible must be done to ensure that anyone flying a plane is fit to do so.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Air Accident Claims.