Expert Aviation Lawyer Analyses Germanwings Crash Report

Comments From Lawyers representing British and Spanish Families Affected by Germanwings Crash Last March


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

French investigators have published their final report into the Germanwings tragedy last march making 11 safety recommendations.

The specialist Aviation Law team at Irwin Mitchell represents all the British families who lost loved ones when Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people on-board.
It has since been revealed that the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had deliberately crashed the plane and had previously been treated for depression and mental health issues, including seeing doctors 41 times in the years preceding the crash.

Clive Garner, head of the international personal injury team at Irwin Mitchell which represents British and Spanish families affected by the crash said: “The report and the safety recommendations echo reforms that we and the families we represent have previously called for but we have concerns that there are some crucial elements still to investigate. It is obviously a very difficult time for the families as we approach the anniversary and they are still upset and angry at what happened nothing can bring their loved ones back but they want to know that something like this can never happen again."

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and specialist aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell which represents British and Spanish families affected by the crash said:

Expert Opinion
“It is very concerning that the pilot had such a serious mental condition from December 2014 to date of accident yet the treating doctors and psychiatrists did not notify Lufthansa or the authorities due to fear of the German rules on patient confidentiality. Clearly the rules need to be changed. We need clear and consistent guidelines in Europe and internationally on where the threat to public safety outweighs medical confidentiality for pilots – so the BEA safety recommendations are welcomed.

“But it is concerning that the report indicates that extensive psychiatric evaluation of all pilots as part of routine medical assessments would not be productive or cost effective. Although the report says that it would be effective for pilots with an identified history of mental illness, there is still the worry that in the absence of extensive psychiatric screening for all pilots, there is a risk that a pilot who conceals a mental illness could still slip through the net.

“We are very disappointed that The BEA report does not include a more detailed analysis of the pilots flying training in Arizona for Lufthansa. In July 2009 Lufthansa knew of the medical problems and refused renewal of the pilot's medical. In June 2010 Lufthansa applied to the FAA for a US 3rd class medical but this was refused by the FAA. The FAA wanted to see a report from the pilots physician. In July 2010 the FAA issued a medical certificate but stated that the pilot should be prohibited from flying if he displayed and symptoms or adverse changes. From November 2010 – March 2011 the pilot did his flying training in Arizona which should have been a crucial opportunity for identification of any problems and how he performed under pressure. With the FAA restriction and knowledge of his previous mental issues, the staff of the flight training center should have been closely monitoring him and should have stopped him from flying if he demonstrated any concerns.

“It is very disappointing that the BEA report does not analyse in detail why the Arizona flight training school passed him. This was a golden opportunity to identify any problems and prevent him from passing the flying course."
Jim Morris, Partner

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