Mar 27, 2015 5:46 PM
The Latest: Church service in Duesseldorf for crash families
The Associated Press
10:40 p.m. (2140 GMT, 5:40 p.m. EDT)
A church service in honor of the victims has been held in Duesseldorf, where the Germanwings plane was headed when it crashed into a French mountain, killing all 150 people aboard Tuesday.
People packed into the St. Lambertus Basilica for the Friday night service organized jointly by the Catholic and Lutheran churches. Detlev Toonen, a Lutheran priest based at Duesseldorf airport who has been counseling relatives of the crash victims, says "the church ... wants to show solidarity with the relatives and show them that we stand by their side."
An official memorial service with political leaders is planned for April 17 at Cologne's cathedral. Germany says 71 citizens were among the victims of the crash.
9:55 p.m. (2055 GMT, 4:55 p.m. EDT)
Lufthansa is offering immediate aid of up to 50,000 euros ($54,800) per passenger to relatives of the Germanwings crash that killed 150 people on Tuesday.
Spokesman Thomas Jachnow on Friday confirmed a report by the daily Tagesspiegel. Lufthansa hadn't previously detailed the level of the payments, which are separate from eventual compensation payments. It owns the budget carrier Germanwings.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said earlier the airline would honor "international arrangements regulating liability" and noted that the company already has offered immediate financial aid to anyone requiring help. Lufthansa also flew many victims' relatives to see the crash site in the French Alps.
8:55 p.m. (1955 GMT, 3:55 p.m. EDT)
Hundreds of mourners have shown up for a Mass in a Barcelona suburb for three generations of one family who died in the Germanwings plane crash.
A 12-year-old girl, her mother and the girl's grandmother were together on the jet that crashed Tuesday in the French Alps as it flew from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
Journalists were not allowed inside the Mass on Friday night but the girl's grandfather, Juan Pardo Yanez, told reporters earlier he had traveled to the French crash site along with relatives of other Spanish victims. They were taken there by Lufthansa, the owner of Germanwings.
The three family members were among 48 Spaniards killed in the crash, according to Germany's Foreign Ministry. Four more victims had dual citizenship that included Spain.
5:15 p.m. (1615 GMT, 12:15 p.m. EDT)
Europe's aviation safety agency is now recommending that airlines always have two people in the cockpit of a flying aircraft.
The move Friday came after it emerged that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 had apparently locked himself alone in the cockpit before crashing the plane Tuesday. All 150 on board were killed.
European airlines, including the Lufthansa Group that includes Germanwings, were already committing to imposing the measure as soon as possible.
The European Aviation Safety Agency's executive director, Patrick Ky, said "while we are still mourning the victims, all our efforts focus on improving the safety and security of passengers and crews."
4:40 p.m. (1540 GMT, 11:40 a.m. EDT)
French police working to recover remains from the Germanwings crash site say so far they have recovered between 400 and 600 pieces of remains from the 150 people who died in Tuesday's plane crash.
Speaking from the French Alps town of Seyne-les-Alpes, Col. Patrick Touron of the gendarme service said "we haven't found a single body intact."
He also said DNA samples have been taken from objects provided by the victims' families such as toothbrushes that could help identify the victims.
Touron also said jewelry and other objects could help in the identification process.
4:10 p.m. (1510 GMT, 11:10 a.m. EDT)
A Duesseldorf hospital says the co-pilot of Germanwings flight 9525 had been a patient there over the past two months.
Duesseldorf University Hospital said in a statement Friday that Andreas Lubitz last came to the hospital for "diagnostic evaluation" on March 10. It declined to provide details about his condition but denied German media reports that it had treated the 27-year-old pilot for depression.
The hospital says it has submitted Lubitz's patient record to prosecutors in Duesseldorf, where he lived.
Prosecutors say Lubitz deliberately crashed his plane into a mountain in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
3:40 p.m. (1440 GMT, 10:40 a.m. EDT)
Lufthansa says it's appointing an official to take care of "examining and further refining all flight safety-relevant procedures" at the company following the Germanwings crash.
Werner Maas, the safety pilot at Lufthansa, is taking on the new job of group safety pilot responsible for overseeing safety procedures across the airline group, which also includes Germanwings and carriers such as Austrian Airlines and Swiss.
Lufthansa says airlines in the Lufthansa Group will introduce the two-person in the cockpit rule "as soon as possible" in consultation with their regulators.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally slammed a plane into a mountain on Tuesday, killing all 150 people onboard, during a flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
2:40 p.m. (1340 GMT, 9:40 a.m. EDT)
An American who lost relatives in the EgyptAir disaster has reached out to Germanwings families to give them support.
Jim Brokaw founded the Families of EgyptAir 990 as a support group after losing his father and stepmother in the 1999 crash, caused by a co-pilot who is believed to have intentionally flown the jet into the ocean.
The Brunswick, Maine, resident said he has reached out to Germanwings families over Facebook, offering to provide them any help he can based upon his experience dealing with such a tragedy.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew a passenger plane into a mountain in France on Tuesday, killing all 150 people onboard.
Brokaw says "I want people to know they're not alone." He says that after such a crash, families can be deluged with information and questions, and it helps to have a point of contact who can help them sort through it all at a time they're still grieving.
He added: "It's disorienting, it's literally unspeakable there are no words for expressing the total loss."
1:40 p.m. (1240 GMT, 8:40 a.m. EDT)
The parents of 37-year-old Robert Oliver Calvo, one of the three American citizens killed in the Germanwings crash, say they are finding solace in memories of their son.
"Instead of focusing our minds and hearts on those last nine or 10 minutes (of the flight), we prefer to think about those 37 years that we've been together," father Robert Tansill Oliver said.
He told reporters in Barcelona that he feels no anger toward co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, accused of crashing the Airbus A320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
"I'm really sad for those parents of that young pilot. I can't imagine what they're going through right now," he said.
Robert Oliver Calvo worked for a clothing company in Barcelona, where his parents also live.
12:45 p.m. (1145 GMT, 7:45 a.m. EDT)
German prosecutors say they have found evidence that the co-pilot of the Germanwings plan which crashed in the French Alps appears to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employers.
Prosecutors in the western city of Duesseldorf say they seized medical documents from the home of Andreas Lubitz that indicate "an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment."
Prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement Friday that torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash "support the current preliminary assessment that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and colleagues."
He said the search of Lubitz's home revealed no suicide note or evidence of any political or religious motivation for his actions.
12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT, 7:30 a.m. EDT)
Three Kazakhs who perished in the Germanwings flight were on a European vacation when they made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to Spain to watch one of soccer's most popular matches.
The vacation to Europe was precious time together for Kazakh couple Erbol Imankulov and his wife Aizhan Isengaliyeva, after he recently moved 700 kilometers (400 miles) from his home city of Ust-Kamenogorsk to take up a job in the coal city of Karaganda.
The diversion to go watch "El Clasico" on Sunday between Barcelona and Real Madrid was a special treat for their 26-year old son, Adil, who was travelling with them.
All three Kazakhs perished in the Germanwings crash from Barcelona to Duesseldorf that killed 150 people on Tuesday.
Adil's sister, 14-year-old Diana, missed out on the trip. She was unable to get a visa.
The co-pilot is suspected of intentionally crashing the plane into a mountain in the French Alps during the Barcelona to Duesseldorf flight.
11:50 a.m. (1050 GMT, 6:50 a.m. EDT)
France's leading pilots union is filing a lawsuit over leaks about the investigation into the Germanwings crash.
Guillaume Schmid, a representative of the SNPL union, said Friday that pilots are angry that information about the dramatic final moments of the flight were reported in the media before prosecutors and others were informed.
After the media reports, a prosecutor announced that cockpit recordings indicate the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 jet intentionally flew the plane into a mountain on Tuesday. All 150 aboard were killed.
The lawsuit is over violating a French law on keeping information about investigations secret while they are ongoing. The lawsuit doesn't name an alleged perpetrator, a common method in French law that leaves it to investigators to determine who is at fault.
Schmid said that pilots are saddened by the accident and understand the public's wish for immediate information, but decried pressure on investigators and said that can lead to misleading the public instead.
11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT, 6:30 a.m. EDT)
Germany's president has attended a memorial service in the western town of Haltern for 16 students and two teachers from the local high school who were killed in the Germanwings plane crash.
President Joachim Gauck and North Rhine-Westphalia's state governor, Hannelore Kraft, attended the service along with students at the town's St. Sixtus church.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked himself alone in the cockpit during Tuesday's flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf, and then intentionally crashed the plane into a mountainside in the southern French Alps. All 150 people aboard the plane were killed.
10:25 a.m. (0925 GMT, 5:25 a.m. EDT)
Germanwings says it is setting up a family assistance center in Marseille for relatives of the 150 people killed when one of its planes crashed in the French Alps.
Investigators believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane into a mountainside during Tuesday's flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
Germanwings chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said in a statement that "in these dark hours our full attention belongs to the emotional support of the relatives and friends of the victims of Flight 9525."
The airline, a subsidiary of German carrier Lufthansa, says some grieving relatives took part in a religious service Thursday afternoon near the crash site.
9:50 a.m. (0850 GMT, 4:50 a.m. EDT)
France's prime minister has called on German airline Lufthansa to provide all information about Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who investigators believe intentionally slammed a plane into a French mountainside, killing all 150 people aboard.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Lufthansa to give the maximum of information "so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific" action.
In an interview with French network iTele, Valls said Friday that nothing would be ruled out until the end of a full investigation.
The Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed Tuesday in the southern French Alps. Germanwings is a division of Lufthansa.
9:15 a.m. (0815 GMT, 4:15 a.m. EDT)
German police have searched the home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in Duesseldorf and seized material that will now be examined as part of the investigation into the crash that killed 150 people in the French Alps.
French investigators believe Lubitz locked himself inside the cockpit and then intentionally smashed the Germanwings plane into a mountainside.
A spokeswoman for Duesseldorf police denied reports Friday that the officers had made any significant discovery yet.
"No crucial piece of evidence has been found yet," Susanna Heusgen told The Associated Press.
Duesseldorf prosecutors say they plan to release an update on their investigation around noon (1100 GMT, 7 a.m. EDT).
7 a.m. (0600 GMT, 2 a.m. EDT)
The co-pilot who authorities believe intentionally crashed an airplane into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board, likely first honed his flying skills for months in Arizona.
Lufthansa Group, which owns Germanwings airline, said Thursday that 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz trained in Bremen, Germany, and Phoenix starting in 2008.
A Facebook page bearing his name lists Phoenix Goodyear Airport among his interests. The airport houses Airline Training Center Arizona, a Lufthansa-owned training facility.
Aviation experts say students there log flight hours and attend classes on navigation in an 18-month period. On Thursday, German and Lufthansa flags outside the facility were flying at half-staff.
Sunshine and vast air space have historically made Arizona a popular location for pilot training.
French prosecutors say Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit of Germanwings Flight 9525 on Tuesday before the jet slammed into the mountainside.