75 Families Call Germanwings Crash Murder

     PHOENIX (CN) — Families of 81 people who died when a Germanwings pilot deliberately crashed a commercial jet into the Alps sued the Arizona flight school that trained him, claiming it failed to spot his “severe depression, suicidal ideations … mental disorders and his dishonesty and untrustworthiness.”
     Seventy-five families sued the Airline Training Center Arizona on Wednesday in Federal Court. The school in Goodyear, a suburb of Phoenix, trained Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz for five months, in 2010 and 2011, according to a March 29 lawsuit from a man whose wife died in the crash.
     Lubitz, a co-pilot, locked the pilot out of the cockpit and flew Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, 2015, killing all 150 people onboard. In the lawsuit, the 75 families call it “murder.”
     The Airline Training Center Arizona is owned by Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings.
     Lead plaintiff Manuel Bandres Oto et al. say the flight school failed to “properly screen Lubitz when he applied for admission to its commercial airline training center because, among other things, proper screening would have revealed his history of severe depression, suicidal ideations, hospitalization on account of such mental disorders and his dishonesty and untrustworthiness, making him unqualified to become a Lufthansa commercial airline pilot.”
     Lubitz suspended his pilot training in Germany in 2008 to seek treatment for depression. He was hospitalized, then resumed training in Germany in 2009, and was trained at the Goodyear flight school from November 2010 until March 2011, according to the previous lawsuit from David Friday, whose wife and son died in the crash.
     The 75 families in the new complaint say Airline Training Center Arizona “failed to properly monitor Lubitz for symptoms of psychological abnormalities, reactive depression and personality disorders and when Lubitz exhibited such symptoms ATCA failed to disqualify him from continuing his training to become a commercial airline pilot.”
     The families say the school should have prevented Lubitz from flying after seeing in his medical records that he had been hospitalized for depression and treated with anti-depressants. Lubitz had a “special” Class 1 medical certificate, which included a restriction “stating it would become invalid if he had a relapse or recurrence of depression,” according to the complaint.
     It continues: “Furthermore, ATCA was the gatekeeper to Lubitz’s career as a Lufthansa commercial airline pilot and knew or should have known that Lubitz’s mental disorders and lack of trustworthiness created the risk that were he not denied admission to its flight training program passengers in planes he piloted would be exposed to unreasonable risk of death and harm.”
     The families say there was no indication in Lubitz’s medical records that he had been cured of his depression.
     “ATCA was not just negligent, but also careless, and even reckless, in failing to apply its own well-advertised ‘stringent’ standards to discover the history of Lubitz’s severe mental illness that should have kept Lubitz from admission to ATCA’s flight school,” the families’ attorney Brian Alexander said in a statement.
     “The company missed several readily apparent red flags, including that Lubitz’s German medical certificate had a restricting legend on its face specifically because of that mental illness history, which included severe depression and suicidal ideations.”
     Alexander is with Kreindler & Kreindler in New York City.
     The families seek compensatory damages for wrongful death, negligence, loss of consortium and pain and suffering.
     A representative for Lufthansa was not immediately available for comment.

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