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Germanwings co-pilot accelerated plane's descent, investigators say

French rescue workers search the wreckage of Germanwings A320 for the second black box, which contains technical flight data.
French rescue workers search the wreckage of Germanwings A320 for the second black box, which contains technical flight data. Reuters

The co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 flight that crashed in the French Alps last week repeatedly accelerated the plane as he drove it into the mountains, investigators said Friday after reviewing data from the second black box found in the wreckage.

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The latest information appears to confirm the theory that Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, killing all 150 people on board.

“A first reading shows that the pilot in the cockpit used the automatic pilot to descend the plane towards an altitude of 100 feet (30 metres)," said BEA, the French air accident investigation agency, in a statement.

"Then, several times during the descent, the pilot changed the automatic pilot settings to increase the aircraft's speed," the investigators said.

The first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, contained sound recordings that have led to the conclusion that Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and set the plane on a deadly collision course.

German prosecutors, meanwhile, have said their investigation has found that Lubitz researched suicide methods and cockpit door security. They also said that Lubitz was diagnosed as suicidal before he became a pilot.

The Germanwings A320 smashed into the mountains at a speed of 700km an hour, instantly killing everyone on board.

Authorities found the second black box, which contains technical flight data, on Thursday after a nine-day search in difficult mountain terrain.

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