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  1. Germanwings Airbus A320: Hometown pastor says community stands by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, family

Germanwings Airbus A320: Hometown pastor says community stands by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, family

The pastor of the Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz's hometown said on Sunday that the community stands by him and his family...

By: | Montabaur | Updated: March 30, 2015 12:50 PM
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In this still image photo taken from video, Priest Michael Dietrich, from the hometown of co-pilot Andeas Lubitz talks during an interview. A church service was held Sunday morning in the hometown of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings plane crash and support their families. (AP)

The pastor of the Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz’s hometown said on Sunday that the community stands by him and his family, despite the fact that prosecutors blame the 27-year-old co-pilot for causing the plane crash that killed 150 people in southern France.

The town of Montabaur has been rattled by the revelation that Lubitz, who first learned to fly at a nearby glider club, may have intentionally caused Tuesday’s crash of Germanwings Flight 9525.

“For us, it makes it particularly difficult that the only victim from Montabaur is suspected to have caused this tragedy, this crash, although this has not been finally confirmed, but a lot is indicating that, and we have to face this,” pastor Michael Dietrich said.

He spoke to The Associated Press after holding a church service today to commemorate the crash victims and support their families.

“The co-pilot, the family belong to our community, and we stand by this, and we embrace them and will not hide this, and want to support the family in particular,” Dietrich said.

He added that there is no direct contact with the family at the moment, but that he believes they are receiving good assistance.

French prosecutors haven’t questioned the family yet “out of decency and respect for their pain,” Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said.

Authorities are trying to understand what made Lubitz lock his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and ignore his pleas to open the door before slamming the plane into a mountain on what should have been a routine flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

French officials refused to confirm or deny a partial transcript that German newspaper Bild am Sontag said it had obtained of the cockpit recording. The paper reported today that the pilot left for the toilet shortly before 10:30 am (Local time) and was heard trying unsuccessfully to get into the cockpit again a few minutes later, then shouting “for God’s sake open the door.”

After several more minutes in which the pilot could be heard trying to break open the door, the plane crashed into the mountainside, according to Bild am Sonntag, which didn’t say how it obtained the report.

Brice, the Marseille prosecutor said that none of the bodies recovered so far have been identified, denying German media reports that Lubitz’s body had been found.

Tests on the body of the co-pilot may provide clues on any medical treatment he was receiving. Germany prosecutors said Friday that Lubitz was hiding an illness and sick notes for the day of the crash from his employer.

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