MH370 link to Germanwings crash

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 27 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Flight data shows autopilot was reprogrammed in the Germanwings cockpit to change the altitude to 100ft.

Tribute ... a memorial to honour the victims of the doomed Germanwings flight in Le Vernet, France. Picture: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

KILLER Alps pilot Andreas Lubitz may have been inspired by the "rogue pilot" theory applied to the MH370 mystery.

As French prosecutors confirmed the cockpit voice recorder revealed Lubitz deliberately flew the plane into a mountainside, aviation industry insiders tried to make sense of his motivation.

An Australian pilot who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the publicity given to the disappearance of MH370 and speculation about the pilot's role in that, could have influenced Lubitz.

"I don't think you can discount that," said the pilot.

Death wish ... Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, pictured competing in a Lufthansa marathon in 2013. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

"It's similar to when you hear of a young person who takes their own life, and other young people who are struggling to cope latch on to that.

"I really think (MH370) has put it into in the minds of people just as the September 11 attacks put forward the concept of aircraft as weapons."

Bond University psychology lecturer Clive Jones said a "vulnerable" person could be adversely impacted by the MH370 publicity.

"They would have to be in a place of vulnerability, they've got to be susceptible," said Dr Jones.

"But if they are vulnerable and are having some difficulties at work, it could nudge them into thinking 'that's not a bad idea.'"

Grim recovery ... a body is airlifted from the crash site of Germanwings Airbus A320 in the French Alps. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

He said the current reliance by airlines on "self-reporting" of mental health issues or the observations of co-workers was inadequate.

"Regular psychological assessments are the only way to identify issues in someone who is in denial, or too scared to speak up about problems," Dr Jones said.

"Psychometric screenings can certainly weed out symptoms. People generally can't fudge their way through."

Tragedy ... French police at the site where the families of the victims attended a commemoration. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

Australian and International Pilots Association president Nathan Safe said the Germanwings' crash highlighted the need for a discussion between airlines and crews about mental health.

"We want to ensure the support framework in place for mental health issues is mature, open and non-punitive," said Mr Safe.

"The most important thing is people feel comfortable in coming forward (about mental health problems) and their income isn't immediately threatened for doing so."

Questions ... police at the house of Andreas Lubitz' sparents in Montabaur, Germany. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

He said the life of a pilot could be tough for some people.

"It's irregular hours, and a lot of time away from home in hotels," Mr Safe said.

"It might sound good but it can be a lonely job for some people at times, and all of these things need to be looked at and need to be dealt with."

A Qantas Group spokesman said the airlines' first priority was the safety of employees and customers.

As well as annual medical checks and crew management training, staff were able to access confidential counselling services and safety reporting channels.


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