Germanwings co-pilot described in home town as 'normal guy'

Small German town of Montabaur was in shock on Thursday at the news that French prosecutors suspect Andreas Lubitz, 28, of deliberately crashing the Airbus plane.

By REUTERS
March 26, 2015 16:22
2 minute read.
Andreas Lubitz

Andreas Lubitz. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

MONTABAUR, Germany - Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who prosecutors say may have deliberately crashed a plane into the Alps on Tuesday killing 150 people, was described by acquaintances in his hometown of Montabaur as a "normal guy" and "nice young man."

"He was a completely normal guy," said Klaus Radke, the head of the local flight club where Lubitz received his first flying license years ago. He returned in the fall for a refresher course with Radke.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"I got to know him, or I should say reacquainted with him, as a very nice, fun and polite young man," Radke added.

The small town of 12,000 in western Germany was in shock on Thursday at the news that French prosecutors suspect Lubitz, 28, of deliberately crashing the Airbus plane.

German authorities were at a loss to explain why the first officer for Lufthansa's budget carrier appeared to have taken sole control of the A320 airliner when the captain was out of the cockpit and slammed it into a fatal descent.

Lubitz had no known association with terrorist groups, said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

He appeared to have led an active lifestyle, running a half-marathon in a good time and showing an interest in pop music and night-clubs, according to his Facebook page, which also featured a photo of Lubitz by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.



"I'm just speechless. I don't have any explanation for this. Knowing Andreas, this is just inconceivable for me," said Peter Ruecker, a long-time member of the flight club who knew Lubitz well.

"Andreas was a very nice young man who got his training here and was a member of the club," Ruecker said. "He was a lot of fun, even though he was perhaps sometimes a bit quiet. He was just another boy like so many others here."

Near the small, white house in the town where Lubitz lived and where police quickly set up guard, neighbor Hans-Juergen Krause said he was "really shocked" by the news.

Armin Pleiss, head teacher of the Mons-Tabor-Gymnasium high school where Lubitz graduated in 2007, told Reuters: "I am just as shocked and surprised as you are." Lubitz attended the school of 1,300 students before Pleiss became the principal.

Germanwings has so far given only sketchy biographical details of the co-pilot, who had only 630 hours of flying time to his name, unlike the captain who had flown for more than 6,000 hours and had worked for Lufthansa for 10 years.

Lubitz was trained at the Lufthansa pilot training academy in Bremen, which declined to talk about him. His local flight club carried a black ribbon on its website with the flight number and the name "Andreas."

"He had a lot of friends, he wasn't a loner," said Ruecker.

"He was integrated in the group. Our club is mostly made up of young people who learn how to fly gliders and then get their license and then perhaps, like was the case with him, to make the jump into commercial aviation."

Related Content

The marquee on the Fox Theater shows the word
August 19, 2018
How a Jewish producer helped unleash Aretha Franklin’s genius

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA