Pilot Of Crashed Germanwings Flight Locked Out Of Cockpit
"You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," a senior military official involved in the investigation told the newspaper, describing audio from the cockpit voice recorder, one of the plane's black boxes.
"We don't know yet the reason why one of the guys went out," the official said. "But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door."
Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, said it was looking into the report.
"We have no information from the bodies investigating the incident that would corroborate the report in the New York Times," spokesman Boris Ogursky said. "We will not participate in speculation, but we will follow up on the matter."
The Times' report is a "terribly shocking revelation," CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz said. But he and other experts cautioned that it's still unclear what could have been going on inside the cockpit.
Possibilities range from a medical emergency to something more nefarious, like a suicide mission, Goelz said.
Officials previously said that they had not ruled out terrorism, but it seems unlikely.
French authorities revealed earlier Wednesday that they had been able to access audio from the recorder, even though its external casing was damaged.
But they disclosed few details about what the recording actually contained, saying only that there was one audio channel with voices on it that went all the way up to the time of the crash.
"It is too early to draw conclusions to what happened," said Remi Jouty, head of the BEA, the French aviation investigative arm leading the probe. "There is going to be detailed work performed on that audio file to understand and interpret the sounds and the voices that can be heard."
Finding the plane's second black box will also be critical to understanding the mystery of what went on inside the jet.
That box, the flight data recorder, has not been found yet, but Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Wednesday that there is a high probability it will be.
Investigators scoured dangerous terrain in the French Alps as they searched for clues in the wreckage.
PERFECT TECHNICAL CONDITION
Workers dropped to the crash site from helicopters, Jouty said, and had to be tied together because the steep area in the mountains is so treacherous.
Officials are struggling to understand how an airplane that "was in perfect technical condition" with two experienced pilots "was involved in such a terrible accident," he said.
But even worse, he said, is seeing the heartbreak of the relatives and friends of the victims who perished in the crash.
"What they have gone through is, of course, incomprehensible," he said, describing what he said was an emotional meeting between the relatives and airline executives Wednesday.
Special Lufthansa flights will take relatives and friends of victims to southern France on Thursday, so they can be near the search scene, he said.
"We need to understand what happened," French President Francois Hollande said. "We owe that to the families."
The doomed flight was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, when it crashed Tuesday in the French Alps.
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