Germanwings crash: Who was co-pilot Andreas Lubitz?

A photo of Andreas Lubitz, from his Facebook profile Andreas Lubitz was accepted as a Lufthansa trainee in 2008

Andreas Lubitz, the young co-pilot believed to have caused the Germanwings plane crash, started flying as a teenager.

He first took to the skies as a member of a gliding club in his hometown of Montabaur in west Germany, before fulfilling his ambition of becoming a professional pilot.

Friends and neighbours have described him as a "quiet" but "fun" character, who was enjoying his job.

A picture from his now defunct Facebook page shows him smiling happily in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

But on the morning of 24 March the 27-year-old's career took a dark turn.

Mr Lubitz has been accused by French prosecutors of intentionally flying an Airbus 320 into the French Alps, with 150 people on board.

Investigators have been poring over his background, trying to ascertain his exact mental state in the days leading up to the disaster.

Police found torn-up sick notes in his homes, including one covering the day of the crash.

Duesseldorf University Hospital confirmed that Mr Lubitz had attended the hospital in February 2015 and most recently on 10 March, for diagnostic evaluation. However the hospital denied reports that he was being treated there for depression.

State prosecutors in Duesseldorf who are examining the medical documents found at his home have not said which illness or illnesses they relate to.

Despite assertions from friends that he was in good spirits, German media said aviation authority documents suggested he had suffered from depression and required ongoing assessment.

The Bild newspaper reported that he may have been going through a "personal life crisis" at the time of the crash.

Keen runner

Mr Lubitz lived at his parents' home in Montabaur, a small town near Frankfurt of about 12,500 people. His father worked in banking and his mother was a church organist.

Their house has become a scene of intense media interest and officers have been patrolling the quiet cul-de-sac to keep reporters and photographers away from the front door.

A computer was removed from the property along with several boxes containing pieces of potential evidence. His flat in Duesseldorf was also searched.

Andreas Lubitz participates in the Airport Hamburg 10-mile race on September 13, 2009 in Hamburg, Germany. In addition to having a passion for flying, Mr Lubitz was also reportedly a keen runner

Mr Lubitz's passion for flying started at an early age. He was about 14 years old when he joined the LSC Westerwald glider club in Montabaur.

He learned to fly in a sleek white ASK-21 two-seat glider and went on to obtain his full licence, according to the club's chairman Klaus Radke.

He was also a keen runner and had competed in several races.

Andreas Lubitz participates in the Frankfurt City Half-Marathon on March 14, 2010 in Frankfurt, Germany The photo shows the young pilot taking part in a half-marathon in Frankfurt in 2010

In 2007, he graduated from high school and was accepted as a Lufthansa trainee the following year, enrolling at the company's training school in Bremen.

Mr Lubitz had a break in training about six years ago, lasting several months, according to Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.

Mr Spohr has refused to disclose the reason for this gap, but said his suitability was assessed again and Mr Lubitz resumed his studies.

According to Bild, the interruption was caused by psychiatric problems and he was forced to repeat classes several times before he eventually completed his training.

The newspaper said he suffered a serious depressive episode when he finished in 2009 and went on to receive treatment for a year-and-a-half.

It was recommended by a doctor that he needed special regular medical inspection, and a relevant note was added to his aviation authority file as well as to his pilot's licence, the paper reports.

A police officer stands in front of an apartment building where they believe Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings airliner jet, lived on 26 March, 2015, There is a strong police presence outside the co-pilot's flat in Duesseldorf

In 2013 he joined Lufthansa's low budget airline Germanwings. He initially worked as a flight attendant before starting his role as co-pilot.

His duties would have included monitoring instruments, communicating with air traffic controllers and sharing control of the aircraft with the captain. He would have also been expected to steer the plane during the pilot's breaks, or if he or she became ill.

'Very happy'

Lufthansa said Mr Lubitz had flown a total of 630 hours before Tuesday's fatal crash.

He underwent a regular security check on 27 January and it found nothing untoward. Previous security checks in 2008 and 2010 also showed no issues, the local government in Duesseldorf said.

"He was 100% fit to fly without any restrictions or conditions," Mr Spohr said.

Those who knew Mr Lubitz have described him as an affable young man, who gave no indications he was harbouring any harmful intent.

Members of a flight club who knew Mr Lubitz have been talking about his personality

Klaus Radke told the Associated Press that he saw him last autumn, when he returned to the club to renew his glider licence.

"He seemed very enthusiastic about his career. I can't remember anything where something wasn't right," he said.

Peter Ruecker, a long-time member of club, also insisted Mr Lubitz seemed "very happy" during their last meeting.

"I'm just speechless. I don't have any explanation for this. Knowing Andreas, this is just inconceivable for me," he said.

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