Families of Victims Killed in Germanwings Crash Sue U.S. Flight School

Suit claims Lufthansa-owned school should have screened copilot’s medical background.

Germanwings Airbus A320
Copilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed a Germanwings Airbus A320, killing all 150 people aboard.Raimond Spekking/Creative Commons

The families of victims killed when a Germanwings copilot deliberately crashed an airliner in the French Alps are suing the U.S. flight school that trained him, claiming it failed to properly screen his medical background.

The suit, filed on behalf of more than 80 families of victims killed on Flight 9525, alleges the Airline Training Center of Arizona, which is owned by Germanwings parent company Lufthansa, ignored behavior that should have led to discovering Andreas Lubitz’s history of severe depression and mental instability. An attorney representing the families said Lubitz’s medical history made him a “suicide time bomb.”

Lubitz was suspended from academic course work to seek depression treatment while training in Europe before being sent to the United States in 2010 for flight training.

German authorities had twice rejected Lubitz’s applications for a pilot medical certificate before issuing him a certificate with the condition that it would become invalid if he relapsed into depression.

On March 24, 2015, Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed the Airbus A320 into a mountainside, killing all 150 people aboard.