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Germanwings report: Clearer rules needed for pilots suffering mental illness

By UPI Staff   |   March 13, 2016 at 9:17 AM
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PARIS, March 13 (UPI) -- Investigators, in their final report on the 2015 suicide crash of a Germanwings airplane in the French Alps, recommend privacy laws across Europe be reassessed in cases where a "threat to public safety" is involved.

The final report by France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses was made public today and called for enhanced screening of commercial pilots previously diagnosed with mental-health issues.

Civil aviation investigators agreed with their earlier findings the crash of the Airbus A320,which took 150 lives, was caused by Lufthansa co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had been treated for depression.

Just two weeks before the crash, a psychiatrist treating Lubitz, who slammed the jet in to the mountainside, had recommended psychiatric hospitalization, but did not report it to aviation authorities for fear of breaching Germany's strict privacy laws, the report by air-safety investigators revealed.

The final report calls for enhanced screening of commercial pilots previously diagnosed with psychiatric issues.

Investigators were unable to collect all the information they wanted during the investigation because the pilot's family and personal physician refused to be interviewed, based on the privacy laws.

"The limited medical and personal data available to the safety investigation did not make it possible for an unambiguous psychiatric diagnosis to be made," the report stated.

The final assessment also includes recommendations to encourage European pilots to voluntarily report their own mental-health issues, that pilots be allowed to keep flying while taking antidepressants and address criticism pilots fear if they admit they have psychiatric problems.

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Topics: French Alps
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