Search and rescue personnel at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in the French Alps
Search and rescue personnel at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 in the French Alps

Germanwings: Pilot locked out of cockpit before crash

EVIDENCE has emerged that one of the pilots of a plane that crashed in the French Alps earlier this week was locked out of the cockpit when the plane went down.

The GermanWings Airbus A320 crashed on Monday night killed the 150 passengers and crew on board, including an Australian mother and her son.

As French officials comb through the black box recordings in Paris, families of those who died around the world were asking for answers to the tragedy.

The New York Times reported yesterday, Australian time, that an un-named "senior military official" said the black box recordings revealed one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit.

He said he could hear someone knocking lightly on the door, then loudly, then "trying to smash the door down", in the moments before the plane crashed.

The official told the NYT he did not know why the pilot left the cockpit, or why it seemed the second pilot did not open the door.

Other French investigators have said publicly they were still going through the recoverable data, but had no explanation yet of what happened inside the cockpit.

French president Francois Hollande has told reporters that casing for the second black box was recovered, but not the box itself.

Due to the remoteness and hard-to-access region where the plane went down, investigators have told local media it could be days before any theories could be confirmed.

Among the 150 who died was Melbourne mother Carol Friday and her son Greig, who were holidaying ahead of plans for Greig to teach English to French students in Paris.

Officials estimates show some 72 Germans, 35 Spaniards and two Americans and nationals from several other countries were among the victims.

The crash was the latest in a string of high profile aviation accidents in the past 12 months, but there does not seem to be any specific pattern among the various incidents.

Executives at Lufthansa, which owns GermanWings, have said the crash was "inexplicable", and both pilots were experienced.

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