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FRANCE - GERMANY

France launches Germanwings manslaughter probe after Lubitz doctor visits revelations

French prosecutor Brice Robin said copilot Andreas Lubitz had consulted 41 doctors in 5 years.
French prosecutor Brice Robin said copilot Andreas Lubitz had consulted 41 doctors in 5 years. AFP

French investigators are to expand their probe into the Germanwings crash to see if there is a case for manslaughter charges. Copilot Andreas Lubitz had seen seven doctors in the month before the disaster. Investigators have established that the 27-year-old deliberately ploughed his plane into the French Alps on 24 March, killing all 150 on board.

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In Paris on Thursday prosecutor Brice Robin said Lubitz had seen 41 doctors over the course of five years.

He suffered from "psychosis" and was terrified of losing his sight, Robin said.

As well as explaining the medical history of the copilot, Robin also showed some 200 relatives video reconstructions of what happened in the Germanwings cockpit.

Robin said under French law he is unable to open a judicial enquiry for murder because the perpetrator is dead.

He said however three investigative judges from France were to lead the probe into manslaughter.

German investigators found, after speaking to doctors who treated Lubitz, that the copilot had only 30 per cent vision, saw flashes of light and suffered from extreme anxiety which disrupted his sleep.

However the doctors Lubitz consulted -- including one who booked him off work two days before the crash did not reveal his mental struggles due to doctor-patient privilege.

Stéphane Gicquel, the head of a disater support group, present at the Paris meeting said the aim of the French probe was to establish if there had been errors in tracking the mental state of the copilot.

"We can clearly see the prosecutor's positioning, to open an enquiry that will pose the question of manslaughter and, very clearly, faults or negligence from Lufthansa in detecting the state of Lubitz's health," Gicquel said.

Meanwhile, some families are angry over the delay in repatriation of the remains of their relatives who died in the crash.

Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, announced that the process was delayed due to spelling errors on death certificates. 

There also delays because of differing laws on embalming the victims' bodies in the various countries involved.

Investigators only last month finished identifying the remains of all 150 people on the A320 flight.

To date the remains of only 44 Germans out of 72 have been returned home for burial.

Thirty Spanish victims are to be repatriated on Monday and the remains of people from 18 other countries would be returned by the end of June.

Unidentifiable remains will be placed in a "collective tomb" in the town of Vernet not far from the crash site.

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