March 28, 2015 / 9:11 AM / 4 years ago

Germanwings crash pilot was psychiatric patient, planned big gesture -paper

BERLIN, March 28 (Reuters) - The co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a passenger plane in the French Alps told his girlfriend he was in psychiatric treatment, and that he was planning a spectacular gesture that everyone would remember, the German daily Bild reported on Saturday.

The newspaper published an interview with a woman who said she had had a relationship in 2014 with Andreas Lubitz, the man French prosecutors believe locked himself alone into the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus on Tuesday and steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

“When I heard about the crash, I remembered a sentence, over and over again, that he said,” the woman, a flight attendant of 26 named only as Maria W., told Bild. “‘One day I’ll do something that will change the system, and then everyone will know my name and remember it’.”

“I didn’t know what he meant by that at the time, but now it’s obvious,” she said.

“He did it because he realised that, due to his health problems, his big dream of working at Lufthansa, of a having job as a pilot, and as a pilot on long-distance flights, was nearly impossible.”

“He never talked much about his illness, only that he was in psychiatric treatment.”

German authorities said on Friday they had found torn-up sick notes showing that the co-pilot was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him on the day of the tragedy. Germanwings, the budget airline of the flag carrier Lufthansa, has said he had not submitted any sick note at the time.

Maria W. told the paper: “We always talked a lot about work and then he became a different person. He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure.”

A Lufthansa spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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