Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane, French Prosecutor

PARIS — The crash of the Germanwings plane in the French Alps that killed 150 people most likely happened because the co-pilot crashed the jet deliberately, the prosecutor in France heading the criminal investigation said on Tuesday.

The co-pilot began the plane’s descent for an unknown reason while he was alone in the cockpit, said the prosecutor, Brice Robin, describing the action as deliberate. Mr. Robin said he had opened an investigation for voluntary manslaughter.

The revelation that one of the pilots of a Germanwings jetliner was locked out of the cockpit before it crashed raised new and troubling questions on Thursday, as search teams continued to scour the rugged terrain of the French Alps for clues that could shed light on what happened.

The flight, an Airbus A320 operated by the budget carrier Germanwings, was traveling to Düsseldorf, Germany, from Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday morning when it inexplicably descended and slammed into the French Alps, killing the 144 passengers and six crew members on board.

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