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Germanwings: Daily Mail says Andreas Lubitz was killed by anti-depressants

Lubitz jogging


Andreas Lubitz: a look at the Germanwings co-pilot in today’s tabloids.

Daily Star Page 14: ” Killer Pilot Looked for Suicide Methods”

Lubitz is thought to have deliberately crashed a plane killing all 150 people on board. Investigators have looked at his computer history and found searches for ways to commit suicide and how to lock cockpit doors.

He was also on a “cocktail of anti-depressants and tranquillisers”.

Matthew Young says one theses drugs, Lorazepam, “is so strong that users are advised not to drive a car, let alone  fly a passenger aircraft”.

One word Matthew: linctus.

The Sun: Page 9: “Co-pilot ‘googled cockpit security'”

Lubitz’s reaserch appears to have helped him. The pilot used the emergency code which should have allowed him to gain access from outside the cockpit – but it failed to work.


Andreas Lubitz drugs



Daily Mail Page 22: The Mail makes an error.

The Mail also ntoes that Lubitz was taking “Lorazapam“. But now it is a drug “so strong doctors have to warn patients of the increased risk of suicide”.

If you are going to tell people taking a drug how dangerous it is, then best to identify it correctly. There is no drug called ‘Lorazapam’. But the NHS says of Lorazepam:

Lorazepam (Lor-raz-ep-am) is a medicine which is used in minor dental procedures as a sedative, minor surgical procedures as a sedative and anxiety…

Lorazepam should only be used for the shortest possible period of time as it can cause dependence, tolerance and in some cases, people can experience withdrawal symptoms.

You should try to get at least seven or eight hours continuous and uninterrupted sleep after taking Lorazepam. If you are woken before this time has passed, Lorazepam may cause you to have some memory problems. You may have no memory of what happened from the time you were woken until the time when the effects of this medicine have worn off.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware that sleeping problems can be a symptom of a psychiatric condition, particularly when the sleeping problems have been going on for some time.

Some people, in the course of taking Lorazepam for a sleeping problem, may find that an undiagnosed psychiatric condition, such as depression, becomes apparent. People who have a psychiatric condition and who are taking Lorazepam may experience some changes in behaviour…

You should not take the drugs if you…

have psychiatric problems

have respiratory depression

have a personality disorder

Nowhere on the advice is an increased risk of suicide mentioned.

The US National Library of Medicine says “Lorazepam may cause side effects. Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms are severe or do not go away”:

dry mouth
changes in appetite
restlessness or excitement
difficulty urinating
frequent urination
blurred vision
changes in sex drive or ability

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
shuffling walk
persistent, fine tremor or inability to sit still
difficulty breathing or swallowing
severe skin rash
yellowing of the skin or eyes
irregular heartbeat

So. If you are ill and taking Lorazepam, don’t panic. If a loved one is taking the medcine they will not become a mass murderer or a suicide victim. The Daily Mail is scaremongering.

Daily Expres Page 26: Before his “murderous missions”, Lubitz had been “injured in a car crash which had led to ‘vision problems'”.

A pilot who can’t see all that well?

Such are the facts…

Posted: 3rd, April 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment

Andreas Lubitz and me: the blind, gay, cheating, mentally ill fitness fantatic I knew

Andreas Lubitz baby


Andreas Lubitz smiles from the front of the Daily Mirror, where the story is that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 impregnated his lover, Kathrin Goldbach. Jeremy Armstrong says fatherhood “may have led him to crash” the plane and murder 149 people.

We learn that Goldbach planned to leave the “control freak”.

Armstrong adds:

“Friends believe Kathrin’s imminent split from Lubitz and fears he could lose his job due to depression and sight problems may have tipped him over the edge…”

When you see words like ‘believe’ and ‘may’ in the same sentence, you realise that the report is light on facts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, March 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment

Did Andreas Lubitz murder for fame? Maria W. should not be believed

Did Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz see mass murder as his route to eternal fame? The BBC says he did. Maybe. It repeats a line someone billed as Maria W. gave to German tabloid Bild. This source says Lubitz told her:

“One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember.”

We are left to wonder why such a comment is not fully attributed? If “Maria W”, who says she dated Lubitz for five months, wants to speak to the Press, why not use her full name?

Whatever the truth of her story, the BBC has been willing to amplify it. It should be careful. As USA Today writes on the same matter, the woman is only Lubitz’s  “purported former girlfriend”.  The BBC makes no such claim for circumspection. It simply states that she had been his girlfriend:


Maria W Lubitz


Behind an internet paywall, Bild’s front-page story makes Lubitz’s apparent words the main reason why he did it and so many people died:

He threatened: “One day, everyone will know my name”

All facts say Bild and the BBC. But USA Today notes:

The claims could not immediately be verified independently.

The Daily Mail reports on Maria’s W’s words:

She said he even warned her that he was going to commit an act so heinous that his name would be remembered for ever.

The woman, known only as Maria W, revealed to German newspaper Bild how he ominously told her last year: ‘One day I will do something that will change the whole system, and then all will know my name and remember it.’

When she heard about the airliner crash, she remembered Lubitz’s menacing prophecy.

‘I never knew what he meant, but now it makes sense,’ she said.

With so many innocent people killed, it would be a sound idea to check the source before reporting her words as fact.

The Telegraph repeats more from knowing Maria W.:

“He did it because he realised that because of his health problems his big dream of a job with Lufthansa; a job as captain and as a long haul pilot was as good as impossible… We spoke a lot about work and then he became another person. He became agitated about the circumstances in which he had to work, too little money, anxiety about his contract and too much pressure.”

Lubitz began work at Lufthanasa back in September 2013. Did he so soon after scoring his dream job job kill 149 people becaue of the pressure? Lubitz had previously worked at a Burger King behind a carwash, “flipping Whoppers and frying fries and talking to co-workers about his dream”. And after working as a fast food wallah he found his dream-job soul-destroying?

Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Lufthansa, has gone on the record:

“The co-pilot interrupted his training for six years, I would be interested to know why. I cannot tell you anything about the reasons of this interruption, but anybody who interrupts the training has to do a lot of tests so the competence and fitness would be checked again.”

Do we believe without question what the ex-lover says?

A Germanwings colleague who worked with Lubitz, one Frank Woiton, contradicts Maria W’s view:

“He wasn’t a person who you thought would commit suicide. He seemed very happy, and he wanted to become a captain for long-distance flights. He was very good at his job.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 29th, March 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment

Germanwings Flight 9525: Andreas Lubitz’s act of madness

CAN we says that Andreas Lubitz was nuts? What about insane? Mad? What word can you use to describe the man who flew Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain killing all 150 people on board? His actions appear to have been deliberate. So. Let’s review another word. This wasn’t a killing. This was murder.

The tabloids pick up on the news that Andreas Lubitz had a history of depression.

Is that relevant? Do you want an ill man to fly the plane?


Screen shot 2015-03-28 at 03.20.16


We don’t yet know if his politics, religion, sex or favourite books affected his thoughts. Many things could have shaped the man and made him do it. The reason why anyone does anything is never simple. But in the rush to construct a comfortable narrative readers can live with, the media focus is on Andreas Lubitz’s depression. (If he had been black, religious or right wing, say, any of those factors would be the main driver.)

The Mirror and Mail make a direct link between Lubitz’s illness and his actions:


Andreas Lubitz mad depressed



Of course they’re not. Depression is the excruciating crippling black abyss. It is an illness you’d not wish on anyone.

But in looking for clues isn’t it valid to look at the killer’s health and state of mind?

The Sun shifts the tone. It sees not a depressive. It sees a madman.  


Andreas Lubitz mad depressed         The man’s actions killed, sorry, murdered, 149 people. Does that sound mad to you? One voice blogs:

I think that the Sun trumped the headlines I have seen this morning, simply writing “Madman in cockpit”. Nice to see them flying the flag for reducing stigma. It seems that the UK press missed the memo this morning that says that tackling stigma is everyone’s business. It would also appear that they momentarily forgot the fact that they can have such a massive impact on people’s perceptions of different issues, mental health included.

Another adds:

…our press have already started having a field day, monstering people with depression, even suggesting that people struggling with mental health shouldn’t be allowed to fly planes (or surely by that account, drive, work heavy machinery, do any kind of job where the lives of others are in their hands). All this is going to do is seriously distress people who are already suffering, make it harder for them to talk to their loved ones about their illness, make it harder for them to seek help. There are probably some people out there who’ve been agonising over whether to go to a Health Professional about their depression or anxiety or panic attacks, who have seen the newspapers today and decided it’s better to try to ignore it or suffer in silence than to be perceived as a potential mass murderer, to have people want to take away jobs that they love, freedoms that they love, responsibilities – children, or other vulnerable family members. These front pages aren’t merely offensive, they’re potentially hugely damaging.



Sources close to the investigation say Lubitz was being treated for depression. They say he concealed his treatment from his employer. Many voices say he did this because depression is so misunderstood and he feared the reaction. Look at the Press coverage, they say, who’d want to be be called mad?

In The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic Jonathan Rottenberg writes:

Because depression is so unpleasant and so impairing, it may be difficult to imagine that there might be another way of thinking about it; something this bad must be a disease. Yet the defect model causes problems of its own. Some sufferers avoid getting help because they are leery of being branded as defective. Others get help and come to believe what they are repeatedly told in our system of mental health: that they are deficient…

People still feel inclined to whisper when they talk about depression. Depression has no “Race for the Cure”; this condition rarely spawns dance marathons, car washes, or golf tournaments. Consequently, the lacerating pain of depression remains uncomfortably private.

In the Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, we read:

Perhaps what we call depression isn’t really a disorder at all but, like physical pain, an alarm of sorts, alerting us that something is undoubtedly wrong; that perhaps it is time to stop, take a time-out, take as long as it takes, and attend to the unaddressed business of filling our souls.

Depression is complex, a debilitating mood of heightened awareness.

But this article is about the media. The Sun didn’t say depression was the trigger for the “killer co-pilot”.  It says a man who, as it seems, consciously piloted a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain was “crazed”. It does seem odd that we cannot agree that murdering 149 people is an unhinged act of madness.


Posted: 27th, March 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment