Suicidal Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz urged the pilot of their plane to take a bathroom break at 38,000 feet — and then seized the moment to unleash his diabolical plot, black-box recordings reveal.
In the most chilling details yet about the final moments of Flt. 9525, it was also revealed that the Airbus’s 149 passengers and crew knew for as long as eight terrifying minutes that something dire was going on aboard the doomed aircraft before it crashed, according to the black-box transcripts, reported in the German daily Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The plane had reached its cruising altitude at 38,000 feet Tuesday at 10:27 a.m. when plane Capt. Patrick Sondenheimer instructed Lubitz to prepare for landing in the Barcelona-to-Dusseldorf flight.
Sondenheimer had mentioned earlier that he didn’t use the bathroom before they took off from Barcelona, and Lubitz used that fact as the linchpin for his plot, telling the pilot he could go anytime.
After getting the plane ready for landing, Lubitz is heard saying on the tape again, “You can go now.”
Moments later, the black box picks up the sound of Sondenheimer moving back his seat to exit and his fateful words: “You can take over.”
Then, at 10:29 a.m. air-traffic controllers notice that the plane is descending too early, and at 10:32 a.m., a cockpit alarm goes off, according to Bild.
That’s when Sondenheimer began desperately banging on the door and yelling, “For God’s sake open the door” as passengers screamed in terror.
By 10:37 a.m., another alarm went off warning, “Terrain – pull up!” as Sondenheimer continued his desperate screaming: “Open the damn door!”
The sounds of the plane’s wing scraping a mountain top could be heard at 10:40 a.m., unleashing a final set of passenger screams before there’s no more sound recorded.