On March 24, 2015, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz took his place in the cockpit of Germanwings Flight 9525, originating in Barcelona, Spain. The destination was Düsseldorf, Germany.
Lubitz had done his research. He was ready. He just had to wait for the right opportunity.
That opportunity came when the pilot on the flight, Patrick Sondenheimer, asked Lubitz to take the controls and left the cockpit, presumably to use the restroom. The plane had reached its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet just a few minutes before.
Once he was alone in the cockpit, Lubitz locked the reinforced cockpit door, taking advantage of improvements to airline security made in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Then he put the plane on a rapid descent path.
The pilot returned, and tried to re-enter the cockpit. When he couldn’t get in, he asked Lubitz on the intercom to open the door. There was no response. The pilot pounded on the door, and tried repeatedly to break it down, but the door held. Lubitz ignored both the pilot and questions from air traffic control over the radio. He did not transmit a distress call. Just before impact, the passengers began screaming. Through it all, Lubitz’s breathing remained steady, as recorded on the cockpit voice recorder.
Germanwings flight 9525 crash site
Lubitz knew exactly what he was doing. The inescapable conclusion is that he intentionally flew the plane into the mountains in a remote part of France. Initial investigations revealed that he suffered from severe depression, and had been contemplating suicide. His weapon of choice for his suicide was airplane filled with 150 people, all of whom died instantly on impact. Among the dead were sixteen schoolchildren returning home from a student exchange trip.
This tragedy happened less than two weeks before the Sunday on which Western Christians celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How can we make sense of this senseless loss of 149 innocent lives at the hands of one man committing suicide under the stress of severe depression? Where is God in terrible disasters like this?
For more on Easter and Germanwings, please click here to read on.