Pilot was locked out of cockpit before Germanwings plane crashed in France

A French gendarme helicopter flies over the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 25, 2015. French investigators will sift through wreckage for clues into why a German Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline plowed into an Alpine mountainside, killing all 150 people on board including 16 schoolchildren returning from an exchange trip to Spain. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

A French gendarme helicopter flies over the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

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]

A woman writes in a book of condolences in Duesseldorf airport


A woman writes in a book of condolences in Duesseldorf airport

A French gendarme helicopter flies over the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot


A French gendarme helicopter flies over the crash site of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes, March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

A girl walks past candles and photos in front of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in Haltern am See, Germany March, 25, 2015. Students and teachers at a small-town German high school broke out in ears when they realised that 16 classmates and two teachers were on board an ill-fated Germanwings airplane that crashed in France on a flight home to Duesseldorf. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender


A girl walks past candles and photos in front of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in Haltern am See, Germany March, 25, 2015. Students and teachers at a small-town German high school broke out in ears when they realised that 16 classmates and two teachers were on board an ill-fated Germanwings airplane that crashed in France on a flight home to Duesseldorf. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

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