Lufthansa Germanwings flight No 9525
The startling revelation on Tuesday 24th March 2015, that the crashed Germanwings airplane No 9525 flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, was the result of a deliberate act carried out by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz a 28 year-old German, has struck a ghastly ominous note in the investigation.
On first hearing this explanation one’s initial response is to reject it. How can a man trained as a pilot in control of a plane deliberately choose to crash it? Having accepted the responsibility to pilot a plane what could possibly prompt him to take such desperate action? What thoughts would have gone through his mind? If done deliberately, how desperate had he to be to kill almost 300 people none of whom he knew.
If he felt his life made no sense, why choose the moment when he was in charge of a plane carrying hundreds of people to kill himself?
Could the desire to commit suicide come on quickly and irrationally? Is if possible that in his deranged mind, he forgot about the passengers?
Suppose he had a row with the chief pilot over a girl or because he was caught smuggling drugs and was about to be exposed. Will anyone be able to understand what went through his mind?
Could the two pilots have had a row? Was there something between him and the captain a personal grudge? Is it possible that he was only trying to frighten the captain and intended to take back control of the plane before it had accelerated too fast? Did he lose control of the plane having started the descent? Did he panic and was unable to activate the lever? Was he struggling to bring the plane out of the dive but too late?
Why did he not open the door to let the captain back into the cockpit? Would a responsible pilot choose that moment to live out his anger?
And what of the relatives? To hear that the loss of their loved ones was a deliberate act makes it almost too much to bear. Because of the speed of impact on the ground, the authorities believe death to be instantaneous, but there was about 8 minutes of terrifying descent, each watching the earth looming up towards them. How would they deal with that? What massive terror would they have felt, so many young lives lost?
Can the relatives ever overcome the shock and distress so as to be able to return to some semblance of normality? How will they collect the broken bodies now in parts dispersed over a wide area?
Could the families accept a common grave in the mountains at the site of the crash with a monument to mark the spot?
In a modern society we give individuals more and more responsibility and depend on them to perform their functions safely. Train and bus drivers, doctors, and pilots all have the lives of many people in their hands. There are innumerable examples where these individuals have failed and lives have been lost. Inevitably there is a call for more regular psychological testing but that science is still particularly imprecise more an art than a science.
The three major TV News channels are having a heyday almost a feeding frenzy as they dissect and repeat time and again the same details, each announcer speaking as if what he or she is saying is breaking news seemingly unaware that they are restating almost word by word what has been said many times before.
They appear to have become immune to what they are saying reporting numbers of deaths as if football scores. Does the fact that X number of people was killed make the tragedy worse? Surely one unnecessary death is one too many?