The families of victims killed last year when a suicidal pilot flew an airliner into a mountainside in the French Alps have filed a lawsuit against the US flight school where he was trained.
The suit, alleging the school failed to properly screen his medical background, was filed in the US District Court in Phoenix against the Airline Training Centre of Arizona. It is owned by Lufthansa, which is also the parent company of Germanwings, a regional Europe carrier that employed pilot Andreas Lubitz.
On March 24, 2015, Lubitz locked Germanwings Flight 9525's captain out of the cockpit and deliberately set the plane on a collision course with the mountainside. All 150 people aboard, including Lubitz, were killed.
While training in Europe with Lufthansa, Lubitz had been suspended from his academic course work for nearly 10 months while he sought treatment for depression. In 2010, after returning to Lufthansa, he was sent to the US for flight training.
Had the school screened Lubitz, it would have discovered that he'd been previously been in hospital for severe depression and treated with medications that would have prohibited him from flying, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 80 families.
The flight school's president, Matthias Kippenberg, did not respond to a request for comment.