March 30, 2015
A transcript of the sounds recorded by the doomed Germanwings’ Airbus A320 cockpit voice recorder shows passengers began screaming over five minutes before the plane crashed into the French Alps.
The German newspaper Bild reports that 1.5 hours of audio was obtained from the black box and shows the plane reaching a cruising altitude of 38,000 at 10.27am local time.
According to a translation of Bild’s report obtained by The Independent, the plane’s radar picked up that the aircraft was starting to descend at 10.29am.
At 10.32am air traffic control contacted the plane and received no response. Shortly after this banging starts which is presumed to be Captain Patrick Sondheimer hitting the cockpit door, and passengers begin screaming.
At 10.35am, a “loud metallic bang” on the door can be heard as the captain desperately tries to gain entry. Ninety seconds later the warning “terrain pull up” goes off. At 10.37am, the pilot is heard shouting “open the damn door” but is met by silence.
At 10.40am, screams from passengers are audible one last time as the plane’s right wing scrapes a mountain top.
Reports of the transcript also suggest Lubitz repeatedly encouraged Sondheimer to go to the toilet, telling him that he is ready to take over control of the aircraft “at any time”.
When Sondheimer did leave the flightdeck, Lubitz locked the door and changed the autopilot from 38,000ft to 100ft, causing it to crash into the French Alps.