Shattering revelations about plane crash

According to evidence from a cockpit voice recorder the co-pilot of the Germanwings plane deliberately downed the aircraft, a French prosecutor announced on Thursday. The press expresses shock and bafflement over the question of how such tragedies can be prevented in future. Some commentators however also warn against judging too rashly before all the facts are in.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

We must accept constant danger

In the wake of the Germanwings plane crash several German airlines have announced plans to step up their security regulations and ensure that at least two crew members are always present in a plane's cockpit. The left-liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau agrees that this is an important step, but points out that even that won't guarantee absolute safety: "As much as they sympathise with the victims, technology sceptics may be reassured by the fact that the aircraft doesn't appear to have failed. Others are all the more shocked to realise that a person of authority whom we are forced to trust when we fly could abuse our trust in such a way. But neither the one nor the other will change anything about the fact that - no matter how much we deny it in self-defence - we can always fall victim to the acts of a madman. This is not reassuring. But perhaps accepting that danger is constantly present will ease our decision to go on the streets - or board an airplane - despite everything." (GR) /

Perhaps the spirit of the times is to blame

The web portal Protagon speculates on the co-pilot's motives for deliberately crashing Germanwings flight 4U 9525: "If the pilot didn't leave a farewell letter we will never learn what was going on in his mind. At some stage we will forget this crime, the public eye will turn elsewhere without an answer coming to light. We will ask ourselves whether he saw something similar at the cinema and decided he wanted to experience it for himself. But we will also reflect on whether the blame is to be sought not just in his confused mind, but also as a product of the spirit of the times. Is it perhaps this spirit that demands that we call attention to ourselves? Everyone knows how to do that nowadays. Perhaps the rest of the world won't notice that you lived. But everyone will learn that you died."

Libération (FR) /

Pilots need better psychological monitoring

As the Germanwings crash triggers widespread strong emotions, the left-liberal daily Libération makes an effort to be rational and draw useful conclusions from the tragedy: "It is a nightmare and an irony of history that locking the cockpit door - a security measure introduced after the 9/11 attacks - allowed the drama to unfold. Be that as it may, two lessons may be learned from the whole affair. The first is that no matter what technological progress we make, man will always be able to win out over machines…. This pre-eminence is both reassuring and terrifying. The second lesson is more constructive. Today the world has learned that once pilots receive their licenses they are no longer obliged to undergo psychological examinations, but only tests of their technical skills. Urgent action is called for here."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Prosecution opens hunt on co-pilot

Immediately after the preliminary results of the investigation into the crash of the Germanwings aircraft were announced, details about the co-pilot spread through the Internet. The media blog on the website of the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises the speculation and premature condemnation of the alleged perpetrator: "The prosecution in Marseille on Thursday released the name of the co-pilot who apparently was sitting alone in the locked cockpit when the Germanwings airliner crashed. Within instants his name spread through the digital channels of the news agencies, and anger brewed in the social networks. A clearly falsified twitter account has exposed the man to public abuse. The hunt has begun. No one asks whether the facts have been confirmed beyond all doubt or whether the French prosecution always speaks God's truth. And for their part all those who normally look askance at announcements by state officials have fallen silent. Reason, however, dictates that we apply a certain prudence in classifying, assessing and repeating breaking news."