One Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash

In audio, he's heard trying to smash down the door
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2015 6:56 PM CDT
One Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash
Rescue workers examine debris at the plane crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

A seemingly dramatic turn in the investigation of the Germanwings plane crash: Audio reveals that one pilot was locked out of the cockpit before the plane went down and tried desperately to get back inside, reports the New York Times. The other pilot never opened the door, for reasons that remain unclear. “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” a crash investigator tells the Times. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.” He adds, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

It's not clear whether the pilot in the cockpit was incapacitated, but he was alone in there when the plane crashed. Nor is it clear why the second pilot left the cockpit in the first place. One thing that is clear is that the pilot never sent a distress call during the plane's eight-minute descent. Meanwhile, helicopters today began airlifting the remains of passengers from the crash site in the French Alps, reports CNN. In the latest update, three Americans were among the dead, including a mother and daughter from Virginia. (More Germanwings crash stories.)

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