A mysterious new development in the recent crash of a Germanwings jet carrying 150 people on board: an investigator today told the New York Times that audio evidence from the plane's cockpit voice recorder indicates that one of the flight's two pilots left the cockpit before the plane's descent, and was not able to get back in.
A senior military official involved in the investigation described "very smooth, very cool" conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.
"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer," the investigator said. "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer."
He said, "You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."
While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading up to the Germanwings crash, it also left many questions unanswered.
We don't know yet the reason why one of the guys went out," said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. "But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door."
"Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France" [nytimes.com]