French prosecutors say the second black box recorder from the Germanwings jet crash in the French Alps has been found.
An official in Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin’s office says he will give a news conference Thursday evening about the discovery.
The second black box is the data recorder and contains readings for nearly every instrument.
Based on recordings from the first black box, investigators believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed Flight 9525 on March 24.
German prosecutors said Lubitz searched online for information on suicide and cockpit door security in the days before the crash.
In a statement, the prosecutors said they found the information on a computer tablet in the Dusseldorf, Germany apartment of 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz. They said his browser history was not erased and his search terms were traced from March 16 to March 23, the day before crashing the plane into a mountainside in a remote part of southeastern France, killing himself and 149 others on board.
The prosecutors said that at least on one day, Lubitz searched for several minutes about cockpit doors and their security precautions.
Lied to doctors
According to the German daily Bild, Lubitz allegedly lied to doctors, telling them he was on sick leave rather than still flying commercial planes.
The revelation came as Germany set up a task force to learn safety lessons from the crash, which killed 150 people last week.
Citing sources close to the investigation, Bild said Andreas Lubitz, 27, had sought medical help to try to cure an eye condition.
Although Lubitz told doctors about his job as a pilot, and in some cases about his employer Germanwings, he deliberately concealed that he was still working, the paper said.
Had Lubitz told doctors he was still flying, they might have felt the need to break their vow of patient confidentiality and inform his employers because he might be a danger to others.
Complaint of car crash
Bild said documents available to investigators had revealed Lubitz said he was in a car crash at the end of 2014 and had complained of resulting trauma and vision problems.
Lubitz’s motive for locking the captain out of the cockpit of the A320 and apparently deliberately steering the aircraft into a mountain are still a mystery.
According to medical records, Lubitz said he was taking medicines for depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, Bild reported. The drugs included the tranquilizer Lorazepam.
Germanwings parent Lufthansa has said Lubitz informed the flight school in 2009 that he had gone through a “previous episode of severe depression.”
That may affect compensation claims faced by Lufthansa, although families of the victims could end up receiving vastly different payouts, lawyers say.
Changes to medical and psychological tests for pilots will be among the subjects considered by a new task force of experts, which Germany announced Thursday.
The task force also will look at changing a mechanism allowing the cockpit door to be locked from the inside – a step taken after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Prompt discussion urged
Klaus-Peter Siegloch, president of the BDL German air industry association, said the issues should be discussed as quickly as possible.
“We don’t want to wait until the end of the investigation, which can take a relatively long time for these kind of air catastrophes,” he said.
The task force is also open to discussing other issues arising from the French investigation, including making passengers show identification when flying in the Europe’s passport-free Schengen area of 26 countries.
Some ministers say that, because of the Schengen system, it was not immediately clear exactly who was on board the crashed plane.