The Latest: US identifies 3rd American plane crash victim

AP News
Posted: Mar 26, 2015 4:18 PM
The Latest: US identifies 3rd American plane crash victim

9:15 p.m. (2015 GMT, 4:15 p.m. EDT)

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke identified Robert Oliver as the third American citizen killed in the crash.

He provided no further details Thursday, but Oliver's parents told Spain's La Sexta television channel their son lived in Barcelona and worked for the Desigual clothing company based in Spain's second-largest city.

The elder Robert Oliver, who is retired, and his wife also live in Barcelona and decided against joining other relatives of victims who traveled to the crash zone.

The other American victims were Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, an employee for 23 years at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia.


9 p.m. (2000 GMT, 4 p.m. EDT)

Germany's biggest airlines, including Lufthansa and Air Berlin, say they plan to introduce a two-crew member rule in the cockpit following the Germanwings crash that killed all 150 people aboard the plane.

German Aviation Association spokeswoman Christine Kolmar says the plan will be presented to German aviation authorities on Friday and the airlines will implement it "as soon as possible." It wasn't immediately clear how soon that would be.

In Canada, the transport minister issued an immediate order requiring two crew members to be in the flight deck at all times in the wake of news that a co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane into the French Alps.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday that the government is also reviewing all policies and procedures and is watching the situation in Europe closely. It is standard operating procedure to have two crew members on the flight deck in the U.S. It is not in Canada.

"In light of reports this morning, I will be issuing an interim order which would require two crew members be in the flight deck," Raitt said.


8 p.m. (1900 GMT, 3 p.m. EDT)

Leading European budget airline easyJet is implementing new flight procedures that will require two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times.

The airline will put the new regulation into effect on Friday, after French investigators announced Thursday that they believe the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight deliberately slammed the plane into a mountainside after the pilot left the cockpit, presumably to go to the lavatory.

Tuesday's crash in the southern French Alps killed all 150 people onboard.

EasyJet said in a statement that "the safety and security and of its passengers and crew is the airline's highest priority."

Another budget airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, also has ordered new flight regulations that say two crew members must always be present in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.


7:35 p.m. (1835 GMT, 2:35 p.m. EDT)

The U.S. doesn't believe there's a link to terrorism in the Germanwings crash in France that killed all 150 people aboard the plane.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, commenting Thursday on the crash, said "based on what we know, there is not a nexus to terrorism."

French investigators believe the co-pilot barricaded himself inside the cockpit and intentionally rammed the plane into a mountainside in the French Alps. Investigators believe the pilot had left the cockpit to go to the lavatory, leaving the co-pilot at the helm, and the pilot wasn't able to get back in.


6:45 p.m. (1745GMT, 1:45 p.m. EDT)

Some aviation safety experts say French prosecutors' assertion that Tuesday's Germanwings crash was a deliberate act points to the possible need for a third pilot in the cockpit.

James Hall, former chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, says no pilot should ever be alone in the cockpit. He notes that all airliners have a cockpit "jump seat" for a third pilot. Hall investigated the deliberate crash of an EgyptAir plane into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff in 1999. All 217 people on board died.

Ewan Wilson, a pilot and author of a book theorizing that the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 last year was a deliberate act, said several murder-suicide crashes over the past 30 years were committed by pilots alone in cockpits.


6:30 p.m. (1730GMT, 1:30 p.m. EDT)

Many relatives of the victims in the Germanwings crash have visited an Alpine clearing in the hamlet of Le Vernet near the scene of the crash, where French authorities set up a make-shift "viewing tent" as near as possible to the treacherous terrain of the crash site. Those gathered at the tent could look in the direction where their loved ones died in Tuesday's disaster, which killed 150 people.

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said that the family of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was also in France, but was being kept separate from the other families.

Celia Laurin, 10, who lives next to site where families gathered, handed out roses to the families, who spoke and cried together. She said it was "sad for us and for them."


5:50 p.m. (1650GMT, 12:50 p.m. EDT)

The local government in Duesseldorf says the most recent regular security check on the Germanwings co-pilot, conducted Jan. 27, found nothing unusual.

It says it has also checked with authorities in Bremen, where he went to flight school, and Rhineland-Palatinate state, where his hometown is, and turned up nothing from there. It says previous security checks in 2008 and 2010 also showed no issues.

The local government is responsible for checking personnel at airlines based in the region. It conducts the checks — which look for any criminal record or links to extremists — once every five years, a gap that used to be once every two years.

The Germanwings crash on Tuesday in the French Alps killed 150 people.


5:15 p.m. (1615GMT, 12:15 p.m. EDT)

Europe's third-largest budget airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, says it has ordered new flight regulations that say two crew members must always be present in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.

Norwegian spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh-Jacobsson says the new rules will be adopted "as soon as possible" on all commercial flights globally. She says the decision was taken after details emerged that the co-pilot of the Germanwings Flight 9525 that crashed in France on Tuesday had apparently locked himself in the cockpit. The disaster killed 150 people.

Other airlines, including Finnish national carrier Finnair, already stipulate that there must always be two crew members in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.


5 p.m. (1600 GMT, 12 p.m. EDT)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says news that the co-pilot is believed to have intentionally crashed the plane gives the Germanwings tragedy a "new, simply incomprehensible dimension."

Merkel said that "something like this goes beyond anything we can imagine." She underlined a pledge that German authorities will do "everything imaginable to support the investigations."


4:50 p.m. (1550 GMT, 11:50 a.m. EDT)

The FBI has offered any help needed to French investigators in the Germanwings crash that killed 150 people.

"We stand ready to fulfill any requests for information," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said Thursday.


4:25 p.m. (1525 GMT, 11:25 a.m. EDT)

The principal of Joseph Koenig High School in Haltern, Germany, which lost 16 students and two teachers in the Germanwings crash, says the state governor called him with news that the cause "was without a doubt suicide."

Ulrich Wessel told reporters: "I gave this information to my colleagues immediately, and they were just as stunned as I was. I told them it is much, much worse than we had thought. It doesn't make the number of dead any worse, but if it had been a technical defect then measures could have been taken so that it would never happen again."

A French prosecutor says the co-pilot deliberately caused the crash which took 150 lives.


4:10 p.m. (1510 GMT, 11:10 a.m. EDT)

Lufthansa's chief executive, Carsten Spohr, reflected on his long experience as he reacted to news that the Germanwings crash that killed 150 had been blamed on the deliberate action of the co-pilot.

Spohr told a news conference that "no system in the world can rule out such an isolated event."

He added: "I have worked at Lufthansa as an engineer, I have worked as a pilot at Lufthansa, I have carried responsibility as a manager at Lufthansa for many, many years. Always, wherever I was, whoever my boss was, the rule was always safety is No. 1. And that this has happened to us — I can only say we are sorry."


4 p.m. (1500 GMT, 11:00 a.m. EDT)

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has sent his condolences to the family of Asmae Ouahoud El Allaoui, a 23-year-old newlywed who died in the Germanwings crash.

Allaoui married Mohamed Tehrioui, 24, Morocco on Saturday.

The couple was moving to Duesseldorf, according to the town hall of La Llagosta in northeastern Spain. It was not immediately clear whether she had dual Spanish/Moroccan nationality


3:45 p.m. (1445 GMT, 10:45 a.m. EDT)

A Spanish factory worker who lost two friends in the Germanwings crash says he had "a feeling of impotence, of rage" after hearing that the disaster was blamed on deliberate actions by the plane's co-pilot.

Esteban Rodriguez works for auto parts maker Delphi in Sant Cugat, a town of 85,000 near Barcelona. His friends, Rogelio Oficialdegui and Manuel Rives, were among 50 Spaniards who died in Tuesday crash, which killed 150 people in all.

Rodriguez said: "One person can't have the right to end the lives of hundreds of people and families."


2:40 p.m. (1340 GMT, 4:40 a.m. EDT)

The chief executive of Lufthansa says he is "stunned" by a French prosecutor's conclusion that the co-pilot of a Germanwings plane intentionally caused Tuesday's crash which killed 150 people.

Germanwings is Lufthansa's budget-price subsidiary.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference in Cologne, Germany that "we choose our staff very, very carefully." He says the airline had no indication of why the co-pilot would have crashed the plane. He said pilots undergo yearly medical examination but that doesn't include psychological tests.


1:45 p.m. (1245 GMT, 8:45 a.m. EDT)

Germany's top security official says that there are "no indications of any kind of terrorist background" to the Germanwings crash, which a French prosecutor has blamed on the German co-pilot. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said German authorities checked intelligence and police databases on the day of the crash, and Lufthansa told them that regular security checks also turned up nothing untoward on the co-pilot. Tuesday's crash in the French Alps killed 150 people.


1:35 p.m. (1235 GMT, 8:35 a.m. EDT)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he was "shocked by the latest details provided by investigators," who say the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight intentionally put the aircraft into a fatal dive.

In a message on his official Twitter account, Rajoy said that once again he sends "an emotional embrace to the families" of those who died in Tuesday's crash in France. The 150 victims included 50 from Spain.


1:20 p.m. (1220 GMT, 8:20 a.m. EDT)

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin says work on identifying remains of the 150 victims from Tuesday's crash of the Germanwings flight has begun.


1:00 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8:00 a.m. EDT)

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin says passengers on the doomed Germanwings flight could be heard screaming just before the crash.

He said the co-pilot's responses, initially courteous, became "curt" when the captain began the mid-flight briefing on the planned landing of the Germanwings flight which crashed in France, killing 150 people.

He refused to give details on the pilot's religion or ethnic background. Prosecutor says German authorities were taking charge of the investigation of the co-pilot, whom he identified as Andreas Lubitz.

Robin refused to give details on the pilot's religion, saying: "I don't think it's necessarily what we should be looking for."


1 p.m. (1200 GMT, 8 a.m. EDT)

Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin says pounding could be heard on the cockpit door during the final minutes of the flight of the doomed Germanwings airliner as alarms sounded.

He said the co-pilot "voluntarily" refused to open the door, and his breathing was normal throughout the final minutes of the flight.


12:50 p.m. (1150 GMT, 7:50 a.m. EDT)

French prosecutor says Germanwings co-pilot appeared to want to "destroy the plane."

Prosecutor says information was pulled from the black box cockpit voice recorder, but the co-pilot did not say a word once the captain left the cockpit. "It was absolute silence in the cockpit," he said.

Tuesday's crash in France killed 144 passengers and the crew of six.


12:45 p.m. (1145 GMT, 7:45 a.m. EDT)

French prosecutor says the co-pilot was alone at the controls of the Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside and "intentionally" sent the plane into the doomed descent, killing 150 people.


12:15 p.m. (1115 GMT, 7:15 a.m. EDT)

Duesseldorf airport says two special Lufthansa flights for relatives of the plane crash victims left for southern France Thursday morning.

The German Parliament held a minute of silence for the victims, as did schools and companies in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state where Duesseldorf is located.


11:40 a.m. (1040 GMT, 6:40 a.m. EDT)

A Lufthansa plane carrying 62 relatives of victims who will visit the plane crash site in the French Alps has arrived in Marseille on a flight from Barcelona.

Lufthansa says they will meet up with 14 others who decided not to fly to France and instead took an overnight bus from Barcelona provided by the airline.

The airline said the relatives will be taken together "to the closest point possible to the accident zone, taking into account the difficult access conditions." Part of the zone is closed to everyone except crash investigators and experts removing remains of the victims.


10:40 a.m. (0940 GMT, 5:40 a.m. EDT)

An Airbus training video shows that the A320 cockpit has safeguards in case one pilot inside becomes incapacitated while the other is outside, or if both pilots inside are unconscious. Normally, someone trying to get into the cockpit requests access and a camera feed or peephole lets the pilot decide whether to accept or specifically deny access.

If there is no response, a member of the flight crew can tap in an emergency code again requesting access. If there is still no response, the door opens automatically. If, however, the person in the cockpit denies access after the emergency request, the door remains locked for five minutes, according to the Airbus video.


8:55 a.m. (0755 GMT, 3:55 a.m. EDT)

Lufthansa says the co-pilot joined Germanwings in September 2013, directly after training, and had flown 630 hours.

The captain had more than 6,000 hours of flying time and been Germanwings pilot since May 2014, having previously flown for Lufthansa and Condor, Lufthansa said.


8:20 a.m. (0720 GMT, 3:20 a.m. EDT)

An official with knowledge of the audio recordings from the Germanwings flight says one of the pilots apparently was locked out of the cockpit when the plane went down.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, told The Associated Press Thursday the details emerged from recordings recovered from the black box found among the debris of the pulverized aircraft.