Germanwings plane crash: Airline won't say if pilot was locked out of cockpit

Berlin: German budget airline Germanwings announced on Thursday morning that it could neither confirm nor deny media reports that a pilot of its A320 flight was locked out of the cockpit before the plane crashed in southern French Alps.

"We have not received any information from the authorities leading the investigation and, therefore, can neither confirm nor deny the reports," said the Cologne-based company in a statement.

An earlier report in the New York Times revealed that one of the two pilots of the crashed flight 4U9525 left the cockpit before the plane's descent and was unable to get back in. "The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer, and then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer, and you can hear he is trying to smash the door down," a senior military official involved in the investigation was quoted as saying.

"We don't know yet the reason why the pilot went out, but what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door," he said.

Germanwings said it was working on obtaining more information but would not participate in 'any kind of speculation', adding that the investigation on causes of the 'accident' falls to the authorities responsible.

On Wednesday, Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, said the crash was inexplicable as the aircraft was in good condition and pilots were experienced.

"We cannot comprehend how a technically flawless airplane steered by two experienced pilots could encounter such a situation at cruising altitude," said Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr in a statement. "We cannot believe that this has happened."

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, however, warned against speculation about causes of the crash, saying that there was no reliable evidence that a third party was involved in the tragedy.

The Germanwings flight's descent for eight minutes started shortly after reaching its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet en route from Spain's Barcelona to Germany's Duesseldorf on Tuesday and crashed in the southern French Alps with 144 passengers and six crew members on board. No one is expected to have survived the crash.

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