On March 24, a Germanwings plane crashed into the French Alps less than an hour after departing Barcelona. killing all 150 people aboard.
Citing cockpit voice recordings, authorities believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s locked the pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally slammed the plane into the mountains.
Prosecutors said investigators found a tablet computer at Lubitz’s apartment and after reconstructing searches done on it from March 16 to March 23, determined he had been searching medical treatments, suicide methods and cockpit security.
Members of The Spectator Editorial Board discussed whether pilots must be psychologically evaluated and observed more often.
A member said German pilots aren’t monitored as closely as pilots are in the United States, and the co-pilot’s depression diagnosis would have been most likely well known by the flight staff and the company.
In response, a speaker mentioned their own diagnosis of anxiety and depression to show how it can be offensive to label those affected as dangerous.
“This is another case of someone who wanted to take their own life ultimately and take others down with them,” the speaker said. “As the media too, we need to look at the type of coverage we give this and whether this encourages these acts as a glorified way to go out?”
A different member discussed the responsibilities pilots must face, including accountability for the livelihood of those on the plane.
“I would have never thought about (mental evaluations) before this happened,” the member said. “I think it’s worth it to have them evaluated just like an other company would when you’re responsible for someone else’s safety.”
Another speaker mentioned the time in U.S. history when anybody on antidepressants couldn’t be a pilot and how that ban was lifted because of the number of American citizens living successful lives with depression.
“The bigger safety concern here is that in America this situation wouldn’t have presented itself,” the speaker said. “There always would have been a third person in the cockpit and I think that’s the problem. Nobody responsible for that many lives should be left alone (in the cockpit).”
The board voted 5-0, with one member abstaining, on whether pilots must be psychologically evaluated and observed more often.
The staff editorial reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board and is written by the Op/Ed Editor. Columns, cartoons and letters are the opinion of the author/artist and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Spectator as a whole.