Alps plane crash families seek recommendations to improve aviation safety


Lawyers representing British families bereaved by the Germanwings air crash have urged accident investigators to make clear recommendations to improve aviation safety.

Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf crashed in the French Alps on March 24 last year, killing 150 people.

A probe found evidence suggesting co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane after locking the pilot out of the cockpit.

It emerged that Lubitz had previously been treated for depression, and among information given to the families was that he had seen 41 doctors in recent years but under German law none was able to alert his employers to his state of mind.

Investigators are due to publish their report into the crash, and the specialist aviation law team at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing British families, said it wanted to see "important lessons learned".

French accident investigation agency BEA is to release its final report on Sunday.

Irwin Mitchell say they hope it will feature recommendations to improve aviation safety including improved checks on the health of pilots and co-pilots, both physical and mental.

They want recommendations about guidance on access to the cockpit mid-flight.

The lawyers have also called for transparency and disclosure of medical records and details of the involvement of the US flight school where the co-pilot was trained.

Paul Bramley, 28, originally from Hull, was one of three Britons who died in the tragedy.

The other British victims were Martyn Matthews, 50, from Wolverhampton, and seven-month-old Julian Pracz-Bandres, from Manchester, who died alongside his mother, Spanish-born Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio, 37.

Jim Morris, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell and former RAF pilot, who is one of the team representing the families involved, said: "The information about this tragedy has already been devastating for the families to hear."

He said they want to know why more was not done to prevent the co-pilot from flying "when it seems clear from the evidence already available that he was a potential risk to himself and passengers".

Mr Morris added: "It's crucial that any reasonable recommendations made in the accident report to improve aviation safety are implemented as soon as possible.

"Nothing can turn back the clock or bring the innocent victims back but the families now want to see important lessons learned from this so that it reduces the risk of similar incidents.

"In particular the news regarding the extent of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's medical history and the severity of his mental health condition raises very serious questions about how he was assessed and how the fitness of commercial airline pilots should be assessed."