Return to Transcripts main page


Report: Co-Pilot Reprogrammed Autopilot To Crash Plane; Lufthansa CEO Talks To CNN About "Deliberate" Crash; New Photo Of Co- Pilot; N.Y. Explosion, Building Collapse; NATL Guards Soldier, Cousin Alleged ISIS Supporters; King Richard III Reburied. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 26, 2015 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:37] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us 9:00 p.m. here New York, in the early morning hours in a small German town were people who know the first officer on Germanwings flight 9525 learns today that authorities consider him, their native son to be a mass murder. So tonight the work of investigating the crash would send 149 other men women and children plunging to their deaths in the French Alps is no longer a question of who did it, nor is it strictly speaking question of how.

The cockpit voice recorder shows that first officer Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the flight deck. An electronic data suggest that he adjusted the auto pilot to fly it straight into the ground. So tonight the question is why? That and how to stop something like this from happening again. We'll be answering the questions that you've been posting online. Shortly, we'll be getting a lot of them from you. But first Nick Robertson and what has been a truly staggering day.


NICK ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A bomb shell for the Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin today same the co-pilot of flight 9525, Andreas Lubitz deliberately destroy the aircraft by flying it into the French Alps.

BRICE ROBIN, MARSELLIE PROSECUTOR: At the moment I consider into be delivered, first of all refusing, entry to the cockpit, second maneuvering the lever for lost of altitude.

ROBERTSON: The audio from the aircraft's mangled cockpit voice recorder reveals the 28 year old German co-pilot was alone at the controls when the airbus 320 crashed killing all 150 people on board.

CARSTEN SPOHR, CEO, LUFTHANSA: We from Lufthansa are speechless that's the aircraft that just to look it crash on the co-pilot.

ROBERTSON: The recording reveals the co-pilot didn't let the captain back in the cockpit of the he step out, presumably, to use the restroom off the plane had reached cruising altitude. Once alone, Lubitz activated the steady descent of the plane and he didn't respond to multiple efforts by air traffic controllers to reach him. ROBIN: We use this button for -- to lose altitude for reasons that it would be unknown at the moment, but which could be analyze as a deliberate attempt to destroy the aircraft.

ROBERTSON: The pilot can be heard knocking and eventually banging on the door but it remained locked from the inside. Form the audio investigator say, Lubitz breathing was steady until the plane crash into the mountains and there was no indication he was experiencing a medical emergency but he did utter a word.

Officials say, there was no way for the flight crew to activate any sort of distressed signal from outside of the cockpit. The prosecutor says he believes the passengers were apparently unaware of what was happening until the final moments when screams could be heard on the recording.


COOPER: Just horrible imagine. Nick joins us now from near crash site. Have authorities said how long the recovery operation could take? Because earlier today you were reporting that they can't even land helicopters at the site, they actually have to lower recovery workers by cable from the hovering helicopters.

ROBERTSON: Now, what we understand there are two recovery workers and one mountain guide in each team and we've been able to see pictures on them working there. Literally, you know, pulling debris out of the ground, digging in the ground with their hands. But of course there's a limited number, it's very, very steep, so it is slow.

And what we understand from the recovery of the bodies, that could be several weeks. The recovery of all important parts of aircraft debris could take much longer because the steepness of the trail and the fact that rocks around stable there and the ground, even at this altitude tonight is freezing, so that will make that will -- that will hamper the efforts.

But what the recovery teams are looking for in terms of the investigation, is that data recorder that would have recorded the instruments on the aircraft, that still remains important and that could be, you know, very hard to find, so that may take quite a long period, Anderson.

COOPER: Nick Robertson, I appreciated the reporting. It is one thing to match and what went on inside that cockpit. It is another thing entirely to be inside a cockpit just like the one on flight 9525. And to see it, especially if you're a seasoned aviator like the one our Kyung Lah, introduces us to tonight.


[21:05:07] KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He cannot imagine why a pilot would do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrain, terrain. LAH: But Bugs Forsythe knows how. A retired military and commercial pilot, Forsythe says his flown thousands of hours in the 8320 cockpit, on the safest hi-tech passenger jets use around the world.


LAH: He like all pilots has used the switch hundreds of times.

FORSYTHE: To unlock, you have to pull up and hold it, a light comes on says the door is open. But I release it, it goes back to normal position.

LAH: Norm, means that is locked.

FORSYTHE: The norm is locked, that's correct.

LAH: According to an airbus operations video, there's a keypad entry on the outside that allows entry if you know the code. But if the person inside the cockpits switches it to lock, the keypad won't work for five minutes and there's another override that goes beyond five minutes.


LAH: Again and again we fly to the scenarios in auto pilot and manual, both manage to crash the plane and both had to be deliberately program or flown into the ground.

What does that suggest to you as far as this determination?

FORSYTHE: That he was very determine. Yeah, that was his goal. He had a mission or a goal to kill himself and everybody onboard. We deal with terrorist and people that aren't supposed to be in a cockpit, this person suppose to be on the cockpit, that's what's scary.

LAH: 150 people lost in this air disaster, the who, the how, we now know. The why, far from known. Kyung Lah CNN, Las Vegas.


COOPER: I want to bring our panel who are going to be answering your questions tonight as well as mine, CNN Aviation Correspondent Richard Quest, Veteran Airbus Captain, Ron Stock, CNN Safety Analyst and former FAA David Soucie, also award winning aviation Writer and Commentator Geoffrey Thomas. I mean Richard, as Kyung was just saying, we know much of the how that we'll learn more once the data recorder has been recovered, but the why, I mean that may take a long- time and it's possible we may never know the why.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was interested in flying in the last hour talking about building this (inaudible) to the why, the little piece of information, who's whether friends, where did they go, what writings, what e-mails and that's the only way, unless there's a note, unless there's something, which of course we don't know.

So we may never know the why. 28 year old first officers do not routinely go and commit mass murder with that -- with the plane and then they're not being prestigious when I said that or even (inaudible). This -- the enormity of what we experience and heard today is so great that this takes us out of the realm of anything.

COOPER: Yeah, it interesting, you and I and David, when we all broadcasting last night for two hours, and the New York Times first reported moments before we went on air at 8:00 east coast time last night. That the pilot have been locked out, you almost vote could not imagine initially that this was a deliberate act.

We talk for a long time about a medical emergency, what that might look like. We have Sanjay Gupta in here. But it was only over the course of frankly the hour as you kind of plotted it all out then you both sort of started to come around the idea that actually, you know what? A medical emergency doesn't make any sense. And unfortunately what does make the only kind of six sense possible is that this was intentional.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: But it seem preposterous when we first heard it. I thought, "How can they publish something like this when they don't have facts or maybe this leak was just a leak that was -- they haven't validated." You know, at first it just seem preposterous, like that can't have happened. This couldn't have. But then as like you said, as we went through each of the facts, we went through what the easy breathing, when we went though this things that have been reported and it seem to fit perfectly.

COOPER: Ron, again, you flown this kind of aircraft, you said that last hour -- in the last hour that the co-pilot may have, and again, we don't know but may have set the slow steady descent, so that it could go undetected at first rather than pulling the plane straight down, which is something the aircraft itself would fight against. Could the passengers really not have notice at least initially the direction of the plane was going?

RON STOCK, CAPTAIN, AIRBUS A320: Some may have, others may not have. Generally when we fly these things, we try to make very saddle control input changes so that the passengers are comfortable, we don't want to do anything abrupt to alarm -- people will get alarm enough with turbulence and that. So yes, he may have started to gradual descent just so that it was unrecognizable.

COOPER: But we know and again, it's just chilling to tell but we know because the prosecutor announce it today that on the voice recorder while all you hear from inside the cockpit is the pilot breathing, there was no apology, there was no prayer, there was nothing from the co-pilot as he brought the plane down, but you do hear passengers of who have now started to realize their lives are about to end. You hear screaming according to the prosecutor.

[21:10:07] Jeffrey, the U.S. standards all ready are -- it's accepted the two people in the cockpit at all times, that's the way it is in the United States. If a pilot needs to leave, a crew member steps in. Many airlines around the world are saying, today, they're going to adopt this policy as well, in the wake of the crash. Is it possible to require across the board that all airlines have two people in the cockpit or is it kind of piece meal (ph), according to the airlines?

GEOFFREY THOMAS, AIRLINERATINGES.COM: Well it's interesting question. I think that the rest of the world is going to follow, I think airlines are probably going to say, we're not going to wait for the regulators to mandate this, we're going to adopt it because we have a public confidence perception problem. And I thinking they'll be a very, very quick reaction to this.

Malaysian Airlines adopted this procedure after the lost of MH370, because the leading theory on the lost of that airplane is probably suicide by the captain. So to restore public confidence, they introduce that scheme last year. But I expect the widespread adoption of it very quickly.

COOPER: And Richard, some people are looking at the cockpit door, one does have to admit thought that since 9/11, securing the cockpit door has made a tremendous amount of sense, and in fact the potential for a passenger running toward the cockpit is far greater, it seems then or the incidences of that then of a pilot doing something like this.

QUEST: Look at every survey, pilots are amongst the most respective jobs and professions in the world, because they have too long training, an ultra stressful jobs and they have hundreds of people's lives in their hands at any given moment. So the idea that you would create an entire policy, predicated on, you know, the man on the cockpit, being the bad guy, just really -- it was in the back of the mind.

It was all about stopping people getting into the cockpit, not worrying too much about the person who is already there. That has got to shift, but if doesn't need to have a wholesale reversal. The two people in the cockpit is one way around it, there will be other methods of doing it.

But you don't -- because of this and I do agree with Carsten Spohr, the CEO of Lufthansa in this respect. You do it carefully, you don't need a wholesale change in policy as a result.

COOPER: You know, Geoffrey, it's interesting because things like compare to the other major crashes that we've covered in the last couple of years, that the information we're getting from the officials in France and from Lufthansa is coming much more quickly and is far more reliable and they seem far more willing to accept what the investigation has now shown. You compare that to Egyptian officials after Egypt Air refuse to believe that the co-pilot intentionally brought down the plan and office -- after the Silk air crash essentially refused to believe that it was the pilot's fault bringing down the aircraft.

It's seems like a different response this time.

THOMAS: Looking (inaudible) and it's very refreshing and very positive. And I applaud Lufthansa and the French authorities for their openness in this tragedy. I think a lot has been learned by airlines and authorities after the lost of MH370. I think that the -- if I can use this word, bungling if you like in the first week or so.

After that lead to what we have today, which is deep suspicion about whatever said about the fate of that airplane. Again, the Indonesia Air Asia disaster in Christmas time, the Indonesian authorities there have not been forth coming. Again, deep suspicions about what really happened. I think the Europeans have learned a lot from those two tragedies.

COOPER: And Ron, we talked a lot on this program about the possibility of having lives screaming audio or video from a cockpit's -- as a pilot of an A320, what do you make of that? Because some -- I mean there's cost concerns of course, but some pilots resist the idea of having a camera, you know, live streaming essentially to authorities, kind of somebody watching over them at all times.

STOCK: That's a new one on me. I would think that a lot more thought would need to be given to that. For instance is it live all the time or can you only review this wireless data after there was a situation or a crash potentially or...

COOPER: Those are all options. I mean, David, this is something that has been discussed.

SOUCIE: It has been discussed and I'm still having a trouble with understanding why it is they don't want to do this. You go into 7/11 and those guys who worked there are under camera constantly, all ways. Almost everywhere you go, you go to the street side.

[21:15:01] When this argument was at it's peak, it was during a time where the technology wasn't there, the culture had not accepted this idea of being under video surveillance and the paranoia about it was extreme. I think today, if it was brought up with the (inaudible), if it was brought up with the Airline Pilot Association, I think there could be a reasonable medium that's met, as Ron says.

Maybe it's doesn't have to be on all the time. But I think it could be reasonable be accepted in that culture at this time, but I think the argument needs time for the other argument to come forward.

COOPER: If your are interested to hear what people on Twitter thing that, you can tweet me @andersoncooper, also tweet us your questions. If you have questions, you can tweet them using #germanwingsqs or go to our Facebook page, we'll be answer some of them. Coming up in the hour ahead. Also tonight, the questions that many are asking, did Germanwings and Lufthansa do enough to make sure that this man, Andreas Lubitz, was psychologically fit to fly?

What kind of testing are pilots required to undergo in terms of psychology? We'll be right back.


COOPER: We've been talking tonight about the sickening notion that Germanwings Flight 9525's co-pilot crash the airbus A320 deliberately. In light of that, many are asking what kind of psychological screening did he undergo before he was allowed to fly commercially?

That and do airlines and the FAA do enough to make sure our pilots are mentally sound. CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez, has been digging on that angle. He joins me now. So what's the latest that investigators are learning about this co-pilot's mental state and what of any psychiatric screening that he went through?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, the mental state is really the key issue here for investigators. The airline says that they don't do any continuous monitoring of psychological state of their pilots. He was tested when he was hired, but after that there's nothing further.

[21:20:01] Now, we do know according to the airline that he did pause his training and that's something that's going to be interesting for the investigators to look into, why was that, was there a red flag there that perhaps was missed by the airline.

COOPER: And it terms of the actual pilot training that he got in where at least some it was in United States.

PEREZ: Right, exactly. Some of it was in Arizona. Lufthansa has a facility down there and we know that the FBI is planning to go talk to the people over there to see if anybody who perhaps trained him, any students or perhaps anybody who had any contact with him, and may have noticed that anything that is now obviously something they can draw on .

COOPER: Try to track down red flags on e-mail or somewhere online, presumably that's something the intelligence agencies can do -- I guess sooner rather than later.

PEREZ: Right, exactly. And the, you know, the FBI is going to draw not on each resources, it's ability to get access to e-mail for example if was using an e-mail service that's based in United States, but also U.S. intelligence agencies. Right about now I bet Germans are going to be very happy that the NSA does a lot of scooping up of foreign communications including a lot of communications of Germans that was very controversial.

As you know, Anderson, for the last couple of years in light of Edward Snowden, but now it's something that probably is going to be very helpful for them to see whether he had any contact with anybody that the FBI or that the NSA or any intelligence agency thinks it's of concerned. And also whether there's any communication that could indicate, you know, how his -- what is mental state was, perhaps in a month ago, couple of weeks ago and even the last couple of days. Any clues that they pick up from that is going to be very key here.

COOPER: All right, Evan Perez. Evan, thanks very much. Joining me again is Captain Ron Stock, a commercial pilot who flies the Airbus A320s. Let's also bring in CNN Aviation Analyst and Commercial Pilot Les Abend and Gary Kay, a clinical neuropsychologist who developed the cognitive test for pilots is used by the FAA and various airlines around the world. So, Dr. Kay, I mean people obviously want to know how someone with this intentions makes it behind the controls of a plane. How are there no red flags that go up? I mean how does it happen?

GARY KAY, CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST: I'm confident that with this investigation and all the folks looking into things in his background and all these resources that we will find a cause. I mean it seems unlikely that we won't find something. In terms of the screening that's done, you indicated previously that when we has selected, when he was being hired, he would have undergone personality testing. And he would be undergoing routine in a medical exam, to look at his fitness and we are working toward getting more psychological questions, more mental status questions into that routine health assessment.

COOPER: So pilots who have prior mental health issues or issues that come out during their career, they might be monitored on some sort of regular basis with your program. But a pilot who's believed to be fine that shows no outward sign of mental health issues. That person probably wouldn't go through any screening beyond whatever happens in the initial hiring process, right?

KAY: In the U.S. when you're applying for medical certificate, you complete an application. You indicate if you received any kind of counseling or had any diagnoses of any kind of mental health disorder or been described medication that would need to treat those disorders. That would get the FAA initially interested in taking a closer look at the treatment that you may have had and you would undergo additional assessment and get if necessary a special issuance from the FAA.

But once you're actually hired then you have a responsibility as an aviator to make sure that you're fit to fly, to use your rights that you have as a pilot. But the -- your aviation medical examiner, you're flight doctor is somebody who's the only other person who's now going to -- once you've got that certificate, going to be seeing your routinely and will be -- hopefully able to address that.

COOPER: Les, what kind of oversight is there throughout the career of a pilot?

LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well with all do respect to the doctor was referenced to the initial aspect of the applicant first applying as an airline pilot. Pilots have a really good tendency to compartmentalize. So if there is a problem throughout the past career, we don't -- we're very good at hiding some of these things, I train in critical incidents, stress management. And I know this from my experience in a informal type of counseling.

But throughout -- to answer your question, Anderson, there's not a lot other than the medical that the doctor referred to -- each medical we have to check off whether we are receiving some type of medication whether we received counseling. And if there's ever been -- if we've ever attempted to suicide, that's also on there. So -- But we have to self-disclose which is a good portion of this.

[21:25:01] You know, you're flying with a lot of people that understand your abilities and you're -- enclose quarters (ph) with people, you talk about your family, you talk about your friends and various aspects to your livelihood. So we kind of notice things that are a little bit different, especially if you're flying with the same people.

COOPER: Ron, I guess it's one thing to overhear a colleague say he wants to harm himself or others. But if someone just seems like they're in their bad mood or having a bad day that happens all the time in the workplace. You can't really raise a red flag every time that happens.

STOCK: Well -- I mean if you have a problem at home or if you have a situation going on in your life, you really should remove yourself from the trip. I believe Les addressed this earlier, but if you can't keep your head in the game, in the cockpit, you have no business being there. And some -- you may fly with one person one day and then not to see that person again for three years with this -- the amount of pilots and people, so sometimes it's -- it's not so easily recognizable that somebody may have a problem.

COOPER: And Dr. Kay, I mean, it is -- this is something there's so much stigma associated with mental illness in this society not just in the pilot community and we're talking everywhere, it's very difficult for people to come forward and say, "I'm having an issue", no matter what realm of life they're in, and also just in terms of their career. There's concerns about someone, you know, self-reporting.

KAY: Well actually that's quite true. But I would say things are improving, Anderson, that in the last five years or so, the FAA changed this policy. Before any pilot who indicated they were depressed, taking antidepressant loss, their certificate. They could get it later back through a quite a difficult process but they could, you know, get reissued.

Now, we have a program where pilots were taking certain antidepressants can actually come forward and they undergo a screening process that includes testing and receiving, the FFA receiving reports from their mental health professional and it's a very clean, very clear process. Now, we have a quite few pilots who are participating in that, hopefully coming forward not either going underground, getting their medication without informing folks, but they're also getting the treatment they need for their mental health condition.

COOPER: Well, Dr. Gary Kay, appreciate you're being on, Ron Stock, Les Abend it's always good to have you.

Up next, we're going to enter some of your questions about this crash. And if you want to send us question, go to our Facebook page or tweet us using #germanwingsQs.


COOPER: We now know that the crash of Germanwings Flight 9252 was deliberate that the co-pilot crash the aircraft on purpose, still many questions remain. You've been asking them online. Back with me to help try answer some them, our Aviation Correspondent Richard Quest, Safety Analyst David Soucie, author and a former FAA acts investigator and CNN Aviation Analyst and 777 Captain, Les Abend.

So we got a lot of variations of this questions, I want to read it. This is from Jay (ph) on Twitter, how com the autopilot system allows something like this to happen, autopilot into a coordinate where there is no airport? It wasn't really the auto pilot but, you know, you get to what he's asking.

QUEST: The autopilot is merely there to follow the command that's put in it. I wasn't told to go particular destination, the autopilot was merely told to descend the aircraft, it's not going to know where what it's descending into, it's just told descend.

COOPER: David another viewer, Lamar (ph) ask, how about having security officers on every flight, obviously, you know, in U.S., a lot flights have air marshals. In Europe it does really exist, does it?

SOUCIE: You know, I'm not familiar with what they do in Europe as far as that goes. But the air marshal system is set up to mitigate the risk the best they can. It's all of that cost, it really is about cost and functionality and whether or not, you know, if you haven't air marshal on every flight and he is identified as the air marshal it be -- would become easy to do that, eventually. So that creates risk...

COOPER: Richard, you know if they have them in Europe or...

QUEST: There are some but not many.

COOPER: No many. I guess in a situation like this in the United States an air marshal, if they're armed could have got in that cockpit door.



COOPER: No, even if they're armed?

SOUCIE: That door is supposed to -- will take up a hand grenade, that won't open that's what the design factors are.

QUEST: It's (inaudible), it's not going to be able to get though it.

COOPER: Les, we got a Twitter question from Cicenaro (ph), what are the chances that the co-pilot was under the influence of some medication and made him confused in the cabin? Obviously, no one would know about that at this point.

ABEND: No, that's a little far fetch but I did discuss that today. I mean we're talking about normal breathing but what do we know about this normal breathing. Sure that's possible, I mean we had (inaudible) of schizophrenia and decided to lock the door manually, that what it way it sounds. It's hard to tell...


ABEND: ... at this point with the information we have.

COOPER: Richard, Julie (ph) asking, do you find it surprising that none of the passengers got any text or photos from the plain before the crash? You and I -- we all talked about this last night.

QUEST: (inaudible) just look of where was it, it's over the Alps. It's quite difficult to get a cell signal from a plane anyway. Certainly not remote part of the Southern French Alps you wouldn't get a signal.

COOPER: David, Jason (ph) on Twitter ask, if the co-pilot's ultimate goal was to crash the plane, why did he just nose dive instead of gradual descent? We've talk about this already but...

SOUCIE: Yeah, yeah, because there safeguards that are put into your craft to prevent that from happening, so that would prevented that from happening.

COOPER: It's also difficult -- and I mean I repeated this already, but it's difficult to put oneself in the head of somebody who is going to be committing mass murder and also committing suicide at the same time. I mean we have no idea what this person wanted to achieve with this, we have no idea whether the person was scared of doing this and wanted it to be a slow process. We have no way of knowing, there could be myriad of reasons.

SOUCIE: All we do know from previous events that the intend of those particular people was that they wanted to get down pretty quick, that they were bringing it down. In fact some -- one in the Air Egypt there was a fight going on, yet he still found a way to crash airplane. Once the pilot was attempting, nearly had control he just simply reach out and said, "OK, I'm going to turn the engines off." So, you know, there is an intent there, it doesn't seem very parallel here. However, again, with the technology of this airplane which either of the previous ones were, this -- that ability to stop it from happening would have predicated this type of move.

COOPER: Les, we got a lot of people asking about this on Facebook, question -- this is from Nola (ph), if the co-pilot had been alone, could he still have taken control the plane?

[21:35:00] How would he know the pilot would live allowing him the access? I mean that is -- I mean there's two parts of that question, but that is a good point. I mean how -- there's no way unless they flew a lot together and this pilot have a particular, you know, routine that he always went to the bathroom and at around this time in the flight. We don't know if this co-pilot plan this out for this flight, in particular, whether, you know, he'd wanted to do at earlier, he was just waiting for the right opportunity. We simply don't have enough details.

ABEND: We really don't. And it sound to me like he was just waiting for the opportunity if something was festering in his mind and, you know, if indeed this was his intentions all along. It is, it's hard to predict, especially on a short flight like this, I believe it was less than two hours or so to take -- to go "OK, you know, now my captain is going to go to the lavatory. Now, I'm going to commit this atrocity."

COOPER: It's also interesting David and Richard, because in the Egypt Air crash the pilot was actually able to regain access to the cockpit, this was before the changes we're made to fortify the cockpit door and actually ended up wrestling with the co-pilot over the controls, but still was not able to bring the aircraft back because the co-pilot turn the engines off.

QUEST: Yeah, and that was the termination and it shows how difficult it is. He got back in, he got into the seat and he still wasn't able to. And then you want to know how difficult this is, I mean it is -- it wasn't pilot a suicide, but let's just take Air France 447, the captain comes back in again and he still can't -- and you got three pilots who are all trying to rescue an aircraft where they got the same goal and they still can't. So now, imagine if you're trying to rescue an aircraft where the other person is destined to doom the plane and it starts to show you the sort of the magnitude of your task.

SOUCIE: It also illustrates that when you put a safety measure in place, often it can work against you. You know, he was able to get in there because these doors didn't exist back then in Egypt there, they didn't have that doors, so he was able to bridge the door, get up there and start to at least attempt to stop that thing from happening.

So now with the different affect, you put the safety measure in place and now you got that safety measure in the way stopping that from happening. So that shows how complex safety really is and people need to understand that and...

COOPER: Les...

ABEND: Yeah. I'm sorry, Anderson. The -- but, you know, there's a -- the common denominator that Richard sort of went over was the fact that you got to assess the situation ahead assess in Air France 447, you had this Egypt there. I mean to conceive that one of my partners, my co-pilot, the other guys that I've -- gals that I relay o the most is trying to commit hara-kiri in an airplane, it just -- it doesn't connect very well with a lot of us.

COOPER: Yeah, well and thank goodness it such a rare occurrence. I mean there's a reason it doesn't connect. Everybody stay with us, the panel and I are going to be back with more of your questions after quick break.


[21:41:44] COOPER: Back with the panel, we've been taking your questions online about the crash of the Flight 9525. And I want to get some more of them in. Richard, Jorge writes on Facebook, why aren't pilots equipped for the special code that overwrites the lock mechanism on a cockpit door even if it's set unlocked from the inside? I can't probably answer this but why don't you guys...

QUEST: Because the object of the exercise is you -- let's say the pilot is outside the cockpit and somebody decides to take over the aircraft. Puts a knife or what or just any form of torture to try and get into the cockpit. The goal here is to ultimately give the man or women in cockpit the final say over who comes in unfortunately it's how an adverse effect, which we're seeing at the moment. But that's the other way to do it.

COOPER: Right. I mean it's much more likely somebody trying to force their way into the cockpit from the outside and somehow gets the code and so...

QUEST: That's right.

COOPER: Right. So that's (inaudible).

QUEST: And remember, you're talking about thousands of pilots who have to have the code. It's not a one-man-one-code-one-flight. These people got from plane to plane to plane to plane, so they always going to have to have the code and that would very quickly get out.

COOPER: We also should say we don't know whether for sure the pilot even try to enter the code in the heat of the moment if you forgot to...

SOUCIE: Instead of us to try to knock in the first place.

COOPER: Right. We simply -- we don't have the details of that. Although arguably, I assume, Les, that investigators already know that because that would have made sounds, so they could have picked up in the...




QUEST: No, it wouldn't because if he'd already push the door locked, that would have been inhibited the whole process of overwriting and therefore the buzzer.

COOPER: OK. Les, I think you wanted to get it.

ABEND: True, but I can guarantee you that that captain was doing everything he could to get in the door. You know, outside of breaking it down. I mean if that was me, that's what I would be doing at that point in time. I would definitely be putting in the code.

COOPER: David, a Twitter question from Christian, shouldn't air traffic could be allowed for remotely steer the plane in case of an emergency. That is even technically possible.

SOUCIE: Well, you know, it's interesting because Boeing studied that very in depth with FAA has an experiment to try it and in fact aircraft were manufactured with that capability, which related to discern because there was a side that that was not the best idea. So this risk with being able to intercept the signal and then take over control from someone other than their traffics existing, they couldn't -- wouldn't able to mitigate that very well.

COOPER: All right, Len, Ken (ph) asked, should we not wait until the flight data recorders found before we jump any conclusions about what happened in the cockpit?

ABEND: Good question but I, you know, I think at this point, from what we know from cockpit, voice recorder were kind of reversing the normal accident piece together process so it's the, you know, this is half of the puzzle. The cockpit voice recorded is -- the other half would probably -- the digital flight data recorder would add to the second half of the puzzle, confirm what we may already know.

COOPER: Right. And we should point out, this is an speculation by, you know, folks on cable news, this is what the prosecutors have said as well as, you know, the first reporter, this was from an investigator leaking to the New York Times.

SOUCIE: The results of an accident usually end up in man, machine or environment.

So if you look at those three things, we were looking at environment first, whether we look at machine. We are trying to go through that. Now, we know, it is man. It is human.

COOPER: Richard Quest, David Soucie, Les Abend, thank you guys a lot.

[21:45:02] Coming up, friends and family obviously devastated. The world is shocked in the head of the airlines seem to surprises anyone that one of his pilot deliberately crash the plane, the plane. Lufthansa CEO speaks exclusively with CNN's Fred Pleitgen, next.


COOPER: And now, with CNN exclusive, the CEO of Lufthansa which own Germanwings today expressed the shock that everyone seem to feel when it came out that the co-pilot of the flight deliberately crash the plane killing everyone on board.

He said everyone of Lufthansa was speechless but as the head of that company, he does have to find the words and tell the tragic story that no one wants to hear.

He spokes exclusively today with CNN Fred Plietgen.


CARSTEN SPOHR: In Lufthansa I have been for decades, so proud of selecting the best people to become pilots, training them in the best way. Having them qualified in the best way that something of this kind wouldn't ever happen to us. It's un-comprehendible.

And I think we just need to understand this is the single case which every safe to system in the world cannot completely rule out. And I think that's what we take as an explanation if you want to call it that. FRED PLIETGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been talking about there might have been medical emergency. There might have been some other events that could have caused the pilot to become incapacitated. Do you believe that the co-pilot deliberately steered the plane into the mountain?

SPOHR: Well we do have a safety procedure in place in case the remaining pilot gets unconsciousness, there is a way to open the door from the outside unless the person in the inside locks it and this apparently has happened here.

PLIETGEN: So he blocked in from the inside as the pilot -- the captain was trying to get back in.

SPOHR: From what we know, he didn't allow access to the cockpit. That's exactly what the French authorities have so far informed us about.

[21:50:02PLIETGEN: What did the captain try do to get back in? Is there a possibility to knock a door down at this state we're in?

SPOHR: After the terrible 9/11 accidents, we have put in Lufthansa like most other airlines, doors into our cockpit which are not to be broken by manual force and not even to be opened with small weapons, so there was no way to get back to the cockpit for the captain, in this case where the co-pilot was not allowing to access.

PLEITGEN: In the United States, for instance, if one of the crew members leaves the cockpit, there always has to be someone who goes in, a flight attendant or something. Why was the co-pilot allowed to be in the cockpit alone?

SPOHR: Also United States (inaudible) there's only two for very few airlines. Most airlines around the world follow the same procedures as Lufthansa that in flight faces with low workload, the pilot can be at the cockpit, especially for physical need, and then he returns to the cockpit as fast as he can. So that's the global and most accepted procedure which we have used in Lufthansa for many, many years.


COOPER: And Fred joins me now from Germany. Do we know if the airline is considering changing any policy to make sure there's not just one person in the cockpit?

PLEITGEN: What was interesting because he kept saying how, you know, these procedures had been in place for decades, that was something that they had been doing for a very long time, that's worked for them for very long time. But at the same time, he also then said that, yes, of course, after this incident they are reevaluating whether or not they might put in the same policy that as common in America where you would have to have someone in additional of to whoever was left in the cockpit there as well.

So for instance the pilot goes out, that for instance a flight attendant would have to go and certainly something they're considering, and also in light of the fact that other European airlines and worldwide airlines have announced today that they are thinking of the changing of procedures as well. He says, yes, this is something that they are reevaluating, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Fred. Thanks very much.

Joining me now is aviation attorney Justin Green. Who is also a private pilot and a former military pilot. Thanks very much for being with us.

In terms of liability, what is this mean for the airline? What happens in this case like this?

JUSTIN GREEN, AVIATION ATTORNEY: You know, this isn't the first time a pilot crushing airplane and killed everyone on board unfortunately.

COOPER: You represent some passengers after the Egypt aircraft?

GREEN: Egypt Air 990, obviously, 9/11 we are very involved in and we were involved in the Silk Air case too, which there's a dispute about whether that was a suicide. But the airline is liable to the families out of this international treaty, the Montreal Convention. Their liability can be capped. But in order to cap a liability, the airline has to come and prove that it was without fall. It was not negligence or otherwise at fault.

COOPER: So the airline can prove that they were not without fault, that there was nothing they could have done to prevent this. There was nothing that they missed in this pilot. What's the cap? Do you know?

GREEN: The cap is -- it's given in something called special drawing rights. It's about a $160,000.

COOPER: That's all the family can get?

GREEN: That's all the family -- they have to prove their damages. And then if their damages are higher than a 160,000. In some countries their damages are less than that. If the damages are more, the damages are capped with that amount.

COOPER: Wow. And if the airline isn't fault this can...

GREEN: Unlimited compensatory damages. Whatever they can prove under German law, French law, U.S. law for the U.S. citizens, they can recover from the airline.

COOPER: That the citizen might have made throughout the rest of their lives or something like that.

GREEN: And it's, you know, lost of support, lost of service, those types of damages. And what, you know, I think what the CEO -- it's remarkable that the CEO gives an interview to the press so, you know, so soon after the accident. But what would -- he was talking about is, "Look, we follow the rules. We did what other airlines did, even the U.S. airlines did." So that's part of -- their defense would be in court. We didn't do anything wrong. We follow the rules and this terrible thing happened.

COOPER: How difficult is it to prove fault in a case like this?

GREEN: Well, we, you know, I'm a (inaudible) lawyer. We don't have to proof fault. The airline has to come and prove that it is without fault.

COOPER: That's it.

GREEN: And what the airline would deal in this circumstance, it would say "Look, we follow the regulations. It maybe that we, you know, could have this procedure and maybe that procedure could have stop it but we were require to follow this procedure having the second person in the cockpit."

The (inaudible) lawyer would say "Look, this is isn't the first time airplanes have been taken over and crashed by a crew member." And this particular problem was actually foreseen by other airlines and then in the -- it's really working scenario in the Malaysia 370, is that one of the pilots took that airplane and it took it...

COOPER: Right.

GREEN: ... off course and made it disappear. So that -- this is something that's really been on the forefront of aviation safety people's mind for a long time.

COOPER: Justin Green, appreciate you're taking time talk to us. Thank you.

GREEN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: And as we were talking we just got in a new photo of the co- pilot Andreas Lubitz. Here it is. He's running some sort of road race. An avid runner. Apparently, we don't now much more about it or about hint in that. We'll be right back.


COOPER: A new photo just in with the man we've unfortunately been talking about much of the day, the co-pilot of the Germanwings 9525 running in a race. We don't know much about the photo, just we don't know much about this man. Certainly not enough about what in his life moved him to do what has been accused of.

Now, let's get the latest and some of the other stories we're following. Randi Kaye has at 360 Bulletin. Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have new video now just released by the New York Fire Department showing the intense flames after a powerful explosion. And then you see a partial building collapsed. All of this happening in Manhattan East Village, some 250 fire fighters are on the scene there. At least 12 people were injured, four of them critically.

New York's Mayor says an hour before that blast inspector found unacceptable gas work at the site and recommended changes.

At Chicago Midway Airport, authorities arrested an Army National Guard soldier who they say was planning to travel to Egypt and eventually join ISIS. Specialist Hasan Edmonds and his cousin Jonas Edmonds are charged with conspiring to support ISIS. Investigators claim the men plotted to attack a U.S. military installation in Illinois

And England's Richard III finally get the burial by fitting a king. Hundreds attended today's ceremony as his remains will rebury in a cathedral, nearly three years after they were found beneath a parking lot. And, Anderson, in case you're counting, that's 530 years after he died in battle.

[22:00:01] COOPER: Wow. Randi Kaye. Randi, thanks very much.

That does it for us tonight. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.