A woman identifying herself as the ex-girlfriend of the man accused of crashing Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps told Germany’s leading tabloid that he said one day he would “do something” and then “everyone will know my name.”
“I didn’t know what he meant by that at the time, but now it’s obvious,” the 26-year-old flight attendant told the German newspaper Bild.
She told the newspaper she was in a relationship with Andreas Lubitz in 2014. The newspaper didn’t name the woman but referred to her using a pseudonym, Maria W., in an article published Saturday.
A picture emerged Friday of Lubitz as a man who hid evidence of an illness from his employers – including a torn-up doctor’s note that would have kept him off work the day authorities say he crashed Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.
Maria told Bild that Lubitz said he was receiving psychiatric treatment but didn’t speak about his illness. She said she was afraid of him.
“He would suddenly freak out in conversations and yell at me,” she told Bild. “At night he would wake up screaming ‘we are crashing’ because he had nightmares. He could be good at hiding what was really going on inside him.”
Lubitz “became a different person” when they talked about work, Maria said, adding that pressure about his job and how little money he was earning would upset him.
In Germany Friday, searches conducted at Lubitz’s homes in Duesseldorf and in the town of Montabaur turned up documents pointing to “an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment,” but no suicide note was found, said Ralf Herrenbrueck, a spokesman for the Duesseldorf prosecutors’ office.
They included ripped-up sick notes covering the day of the crash, which “support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues,” Herrenbrueck said in a statement.
Doctors commonly issue employees in Germany with such notes excusing them from work, even for minor illnesses, and workers hand them to their employers. Doctors are obliged to abide by medical secrecy unless their patient explicitly tells them he or she plans to commit an act of violence.
Prosecutors didn’t specify what illness Lubitz may have been suffering from, or say whether it was mental or physical. German media reported Friday that the 27-year-old had suffered from depression.
The Duesseldorf University Hospital said Friday that Lubitz had been a patient there over the past two months and last went in for a “diagnostic evaluation” on March 10. It declined to provide details, citing medical confidentiality, but denied reports it had treated Lubitz for depression.
Neighbors described a man whose physical health was superb and road race records show Lubitz took part in several long-distance runs.
“He definitely did not smoke. He really took care of himself. He always went jogging. … He was very healthy,” said Johannes Rossmann, who lives a few doors from Lubitz’s home in Montabaur.
People in Montabaur who knew Lubitz told The Associated Press that he had been thrilled with his job at Germanwings and seemed very happy.
On Friday, no one was seen coming or going from his family’s large slate-roofed two-story house in Montabaur as more than 100 journalists remained outside. Mayor Edmund Schaaf appealed to the media to show “consideration.”
“Independent of whether the accusations against the co-pilot are true or not, we have sympathy for his family,” he said.
Germanwings said that both pilots on the plane had medical clearance, and it had received no sick note for the day of the crash. Medical checkups are done by certified doctors and take place once a year.
A German aviation official told the AP that Lubitz’s file at the country’s Federal Aviation Office contained a notation that meant he needed “specific regular medical examination.” Such a notation could refer to either a physical or mental condition but the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said Lubitz’s file did not specify which.
German media have painted a picture of a man with a history of depression who had received psychological treatment, and who may have been set off by a falling-out with his girlfriend. Duesseldorf prosecutors, who are leading the German side of the probe, refused to comment on the anonymously sourced reports.