Families of Alps crash victims take legal action against US flight school


Lawyers for the families of British victims killed in the Germanwings air crash have marked its one-year anniversary by announcing plans to take legal action against the flight school where the co-pilot was trained.

Some 150 people died when Andrea Lubitz crashed the plane into a mountain after locking the captain out of the cockpit on March 24 last year.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is planning to start legal proceedings against the flight school in Arizona, US, where Lubitz, 27, was trained because it believes he should have been prevented from qualifying as an airline pilot.

According to reports Lubitz was seen by 41 doctors in the years before the crash.

Clive Garner, head of aviation law at Irwin Mitchell, said the victims' families "deserve answers" as to how Lubitz was given clearance to qualify to fly.

He went on: "While nothing can bring their loved ones back, they want those who were responsible for allowing Lubitz to qualify as a pilot and fly commercial airliners to be brought to justice.

"To that end we have joined forces with other specialist law firms representing a large number of families from across the world as we prepare a group action against the US flight school in Arizona, who trained Lubitz and deemed him fit to fly airliners for Germanwings."

Lubitz crashed Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf into the French Alps.

Paul Bramley, a 28-year-old from Hull, was one of three British victims. He was studying hospitality and hotel management at Cesar Ritz College in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The other Britons killed were Martyn Matthews, a 50-year-old father-of-two from Wolverhampton who worked as a senior quality manager, and seven-month-old Julian Pracz-Bandres, from Manchester, who had been travelling with his mother, Spanish-born Marina Bandres Lopez-Belio, 37.

Traces of anti-depressants and sleeping medication were found in Lubitz's body.

Voice recordings revealed that he locked the captain out of the cockpit and put the Airbus A320 into a continual descent.

Evidence shows there were attempts to break down the door.

Cockpit security was strengthened on passenger planes after the 9/11 attacks in the US, with a code system installed to prevent people getting in.