The BEA (French Civil Aviation Safety Agency), located near Paris, is the French abbreviation for the “Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile“. Their goal is to improve aviation safety without determining blame or liability.
The 29-page report which has been published is primarily a collection of initial information. It takes time to thoroughly analyse and make appropriate suggestions for improvements to manufacturers, airlines and other institutions so they are expected at a later date.
The report shows that the captain left the cockpit at the beginning of the flight, apparently to use the toilet. When the co-pilot was alone, he reduced the altitude from 38,000 ft (11,582 m) to 100 ft (30,45 m) and increased the speed of the airplane several times. The maximum speed which could be set by the flight crew was 350 kt (648 km/h). During the nearly eight-minute descent the control center in Marseille tried to contact the crew 11 times but received no answer.
The captain screamed and tried unsuccessfully to break down the cockpit door with a heavy object.
At 10:41:06 (Central European Time) the airplane collided with the terrain. The severity of the collision caused the immediate death of everyone on board.
My thoughts go round and round: How long did the passengers have to suffer? Were they in mortal fear? After all, visibility was over 10km at an altitude of about 15,000 ft (4,572 m) under clear skies. The airbus´s black box verifies this.
Behind the official data there are 149 people who had life stories, plans and dreams. They were victims of mass murder. Hardly anyone knows that unborn children (I know of one pregnant woman on board) as well as those under the age of two are not included in the number of dead. Who can understand that? Are their lives worth less?
The report shows that Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane and did not act on impulse. What´s worse, he planned the crash and even changed the altitude settings to 100 ft without authorisation while alone in the cockpit for five minutes on the outbound flight from Düsseldorf to Barcelona — he rehearsed preparations for his inhuman act in advance. It was the last flight before the crash. Lucky for the passengers that the change in altitude was not noticeable and the descent was gradual.
My fury at the monster Lubitz rages in me again. It is an agonising feeling. My blood rushes through my veins and tears of anger fall on my hand. My heart is racing at top speed. My mind finds an outlet by conjuring up hateful thoughts: If the beast were alive I would kill it. I enjoy every letter in this sentence. I WOULD KILL IT!!! Our child was snatched from us and brutally murdered. Our flesh and blood! A gaping wound which will never heal.
We laughed with him and suffered with him through all the phases of his life. His development from baby to adult shaped our family life. We tried to raise him to be a decent human being. And now there is a yawning emptiness inside us.
Lubitz, who deliberately dashed precious lives against the rocks, ought to die by horrible torture. I stand by what I say, although I know some readers will object to my opinion. Shooting or stabbing would not be enough. I seethe with thoughts of sadistic methods of killing which I wouldn´t like to explain to anyone.
It would not be the first time a parent kills the murderer of a close relative.
Take the spectacular case of Marianne Bachmeier, a mother who shot the murderer and rapist of her young daughter, Anna, six times in a courtroom. In my eyes she is not a murderer!
Fathers also feel the need to avenge their loved ones who were killed by individuals. Vitaly Kaloyev stabbed a Danish air traffic controller to death who he blamed for the mid-air collision of a passenger plane and a cargo flight. The plane crashed in 2002 in Überlingen on Lake Constance and there were no survivors. Kalojew lost his wife and both young children in the disaster.
I understand what he did and to me he is not a criminal but a victim.
However, the murdered air traffic controller leaves behind a wife and three children. His gravestone is said to read in the German translation: “You were our everything.“
© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum