Torn-up sick notes show crash pilot should have been grounded

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Germanwings Co-Pilot Might Have Hidden Illness From Employer
(Reuters) - German authorities said on Friday they had found torn-up sick notes showing that the pilot who crashed a plane into the French Alps was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him on the day of the tragedy.

French prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Germanwings Airbus A320 on Tuesday and deliberately steered it into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

"Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors," said the prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf, where the co-pilot lived and where the doomed flight from Barcelona was heading.

Torn-up doctor's notes found in his home would have excused Lubitz from work for medical reasons, for a period that included the day of the crash. That supported the view that Lubitz had "hidden his illness from his employer and his colleagues", the prosecutors said.

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Torn-up sick notes show crash pilot should have been grounded
In this photo released today, co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525 Andreas Lubitz participates in the Airport Hamburg 10-mile race on September 13, 2009 in Hamburg, Germany. Lubitz is suspected of having deliberately piloted Germanwings flight 4U 9525 into a mountain in southern France on March 24, 2015 and killing all 150 people on board, including himself, in the worst air disaster in Europe in recent history. (Photo by Getty Images)
French authorities have indicated they believe the co-pilot of the GermanWings Airbus A320 deliberately took over the aircraft on Tuesday,crashing the plane on purpose and killing all 158 passengers and crew. The planned flight, from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, took a path over the southern French Alps near Dignes where the wreckage of the plane was found. At first GermanWings authorities expressed surprise and dismay in social media with the French authorities conclusion adding they believed it was too early in the investigation. A Lufthansa press conference later on Thursday, held in Germany, by Chief Executive Carsten Spohr stated that it appeared the co-pilot had prevented the pilot from entering the cockpit after a bathroom break. It leaves us absolutely speechless, he said. I wouldnt not have been able to imagine that the situation would have got even worse. ----- This social media photo of Andreas Lubitz near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was found on his Facebook Page.
FRANKFURT, GERMANY - MARCH 14: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (EDITOR'S NOTE: This photo is available exclusively through Getty Images) In this photo released today, co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525 Andreas Lubitz participates in the Frankfurt City Half-Marathon on March 14, 2010 in Frankfurt, Germany. Lubitz is suspected of having deliberately piloted Germanwings flight 4U 9525 into a mountain in southern France on March 24, 2015 and killing all 150 people on board, including himself, in the worst air disaster in Europe in recent history. (Photo by Getty Images)
MONTABAUR, GERMANY - MARCH 26: A policeman carries bags out of the residence of the parents of Andreas Lubitz, co-pilot on Germanwings flight 4U9525, on March 26, 2015 in Montabaur, Germany. French authorities confirmed that Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France two days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Authorities are pursuing the possibility that Lubitz might have acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to is destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
MONTABAUR, GERMANY - MARCH 26: Police carry computer, a box and bags out of the residence of the parents of Andreas Lubitz, co-pilot on Germanwings flight 4U9525, on March 26, 2015 in Montabaur, Germany. French authorities confirmed that Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France two days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Authorities are pursuing the possibility that Lubitz might have acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to is destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
MONTABAUR, GERMANY - MARCH 26: Police carry computer, a box and bags out of the residence of the parents of Andreas Lubitz, co-pilot on Germanwings flight 4U9525, on March 26, 2015 in Montabaur, Germany. French authorities confirmed that Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France two days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Authorities are pursuing the possibility that Lubitz might have acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to is destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Investigators carry boxes from the apartment of Germanwings airliner jet co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, in Duesseldorf, Germany, Thursday March 26, 2015. On Thursday, French prosecutors said Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525, "intentionally" crashed the jet into the side of a mountain Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr signs a condolence book for the victims of the Germanwings plane crash in France as he arrives for the annual shareholders meeting of the Lufthansa Group in Hamburg, Germany, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
FILE - In this March 26, 2015 file photo, rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 4525 tried a controlled descent on the previous flight that morning to Barcelona before the plane crashed into a mountainside in March on its way back to Germany, French air accident investigators said in a new report released Wednesday May, 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)
In this photo provided Friday, April 3, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, French emergency rescue services work among debris of the Germanwings passenger jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings flight repeatedly sped up the plane as he used the automatic pilot to descend the A320 into the Alps, the French air accident investigation agency said Friday. (AP Photo/Yves Malenfer, Ministere de l'Interieur)
In this photo provided Monday, April 13, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, debris of the Germanwings passenger jet are gathered near the crash site in Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The foreign ministers of Spain, France and Germany attended a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Barcelona's airport in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Yves Malenfer/French Interior Ministry via AP)
In this photo provided Monday, April 13, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, French emergency rescue services collect debris of the Germanwings passenger jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The foreign ministers of Spain, France and Germany have attended a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Barcelona's airport in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Yves Malenfer/French Interior Ministry via AP)
In this photo provided Monday, April 13, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, a rescue worker stands among bags filled with debris of the Germanwings passenger jet, gathered near the crash site in Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The foreign ministers of Spain, France and Germany have attended a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Barcelona's airport in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Yves Malenfer/French Interior Ministry via AP)
In this photo provided Monday, April 13, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, a helicopter carries bags loaded with debris of the Germanwings passenger jet gathered near the crash site in Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The foreign ministers of Spain, France and Germany have attended a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Barcelona's airport in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Yves Malenfer/French Interior Ministry via AP)
In this photo provided Monday, April 13, 2015 by the French Interior Ministry, debris of the Germanwings passenger jet are gathered near the crash site in Seyne-les-Alpes, France. The foreign ministers of Spain, France and Germany attended a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at Barcelona's airport in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Yves Malenfer/French Interior Ministry via AP)
150 candles are placed in the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, western Germany, Friday, April 17, 2015. A mourning ceremony will be held in the Cathedral in memory of the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane crash last month in the French Alps. (Oliver Berg/Pool Photo via AP)
Police hold media away from the house where Andreas Lubitz lived in Montabaur, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Lubitz was the copilot on flight Germanwings 9525 that crashed with 150 people on board on Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: Members of the public take part in a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 passenger plane crash at the Dom cathedral on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: Lower Saxony Governor Stephan Weil (2nd R) attends a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 passenger plane crash at the Dom cathedral on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: German President Joachim Gauck takes part in a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 passenger plane crash at the Dom cathedral on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A memorial of flowers and candles can be seen on the a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A memorial of flowers and candles can be seen on the a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: People watch the ecumenical memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne in front of the Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A memorial of flowers and candles can be seen on the a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: Guests arrive for a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 of the victims' relatives, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims who were killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A black ribbon showing the flight number of Germanwings flight 4U9525 is displayed at the Dom cathedral, ahead of a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: North Rhine-Westphalia Governor Hannelore Kraft and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, ahead of a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 of the victims' relatives, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims who were killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
Germanwings chief operating officer (COO) and member of the board Oliver Wagner holds a press conference on March 30, 2015 in Marseille, southern France about the creation of a family assistance center for the relatives of victims of a Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard. French prosecutors believe that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside near Seyne-les-Alpes. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo credit should read BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)
DIGNE-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Bishop Jean-Philippe Nault (C) leads a service for local residents remembering the victims of Germanwings Airbus fight near the crash site at Notre Dame du Bourg cathedral on March 28, 2015 in Digne-les-Bains, France. French authorities confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France four days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Lubitz hid signs of illness and it is thought he acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to its destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
LA VERNET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Relatives stand at a monument to honour the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the mountains near the crash site on March 26, 2015 in Le Vernet, France. France. French authorities confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France four days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Lubitz hid signs of illness and it is thought he acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to its destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
LA VERNET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Relatives stand at a monument to honour the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the mountains near the crash site on March 26, 2015 in Le Vernet, France. France. French authorities confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France four days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Lubitz hid signs of illness and it is thought he acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to its destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
A helicopter of the French gendarmerie flies over Seyne-les-Alpes on March 28, 2015, near the site where a Germanwings flight crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard. French prosecutors believe that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside near Seyne. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter of the French gendarmerie flies over Seyne-les-Alpes on March 28, 2015, near the site where a Germanwings flight crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard. French prosecutors believe that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside near Seyne. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers and candles have been left to commemorate a woman, a victim of the Germanwings plane crash from Halle, eastern Germany on March 28, 2015. French prosecutors believe that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew Flight 4U 9525 into a mountainside near Seyne. AFP PHOTO / DPA / HENDRIK SCHMIDT +++ GERMANY OUT +++ (Photo credit should read HENDRIK SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
LE VERNET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Policemen stand in front of a memorial stone for the victims of the Germanwings Airbus flight near to the crash site on March 28, 2015 in Le Vernet, France. French authorities confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France four days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Lubitz hid signs of illness and it is thought he acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to its destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
LE VERNET, FRANCE - MARCH 28: Policemen stand in front of a memorial stone for the victims of the Germanwings Airbus flight near to the crash site on March 28, 2015 in Le Vernet, France. French authorities confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit during the rapid descent of flight 4U9525 until it crashed into mountains in southern France four days ago, killing all 150 people on board. Lubitz hid signs of illness and it is thought he acted deliberately in steering the aircraft to its destruction. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Workers from the Delphi factory, who lost two colleagues in the Germanwings flight crash, grieve after a minute of silence in Sant Cugat del Valles, near Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Germanwings Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf crashed Tuesday, April 24, in France. A total of 67 Germans, many Spaniards, and people from Australia, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Denmark and the Netherlands are believed to be among the 150 on board who died. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
A Lufthansa employee signs in a condolence book in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, for the 150 victims that died in the Germanwings plane crash in the French alps on the way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
A candle has been placed in front of the home of the family of Andreas Lubitz in Montabaur, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Lubitz was the copilot on flight Germanwings 9525 that crashed with 150 people on board on Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
A police officer stands in front of an apartment building where they believe Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings airliner jet, lived in Duesseldorf, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2015, during an investigation into the crash in the French Alps on Tuesday that killed 150 people. Lubitz barricaded himself in the cockpit and "intentionally" sent the plane full speed into a mountain, ignoring the pilot's frantic pounding on the door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Gardengnomes sit in the garden of the house of the family of Andreas Lubitz in Montabaur, Germany, Friday, March 27, 2015. Lubitz was the copilot on flight Germanwings 9525 that crashed with 150 people on board on Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A candle is lit in front of a board with the flight number of Germanwings plane 4U92524 and the lettering 'We are in mourning' in English, German and Spanish during the annual general meeting of Lufthansa Group at the Congress Center in Hamburg, northern Germany, on April 29, 2015. German airline Lufthansa holds it annual shareholders' meeting in the shadow of last month's Germanwings crash in the French Alps which killed 150 people. AFP PHOTO / CARMEN JASPERSEN (Photo credit should read CARMEN JASPERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A memorial of flowers and candles can be seen on the a memorial service to commemorate the victims of the Germanwings passenger plane crash, on April 17, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Approximately 1,400 people, including 500 family member of victims, will attend the service to pay their respects to the 149 victims killed when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz purposefully locked himself in the cockpit and piloted the plane at high speed into a mountainside in southern France on March 24, instantly killing everyone on board, including himself. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
A program and a carving of wood are seen during the memorial service for the 150 people killed in the Germanwings plane crash in the Cathedral in Cologne, western Germany on April 17, 2015. About 1,500 guests are expected for the service, among them 500 relatives of the victims, in northern Europe's largest Gothic church, which will also be broadcast livCe on screens outside the cathedral and to viewers nationwide. AFP PHOTO / POOL / OLIVER BERG (Photo credit should read OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Anonymous stand near a stela commemorating the victims of the March 24 Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the village of Le Vernet, southeastern France, on April 6, 2015 after a ceremony with victims' relatives. A German Airbus A320 of the low-cost carrier Germanwings crashed in the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people on board. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images)
People mourn at the memorial of flowers and candles in front of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium secondary school in Haltern am See, western Germany on April 1, 2015, from where some of the Germanwings plane crash victims came. A church service will take place in the small western German town of Haltern to remember 16 pupils and two teachers from the same school who were killed in the Germanwings air disaster as they returned from an exchange trip to Barcelona. AFP PHOTO / SASCHA SCHUERMANN (Photo credit should read SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
National flags of countries of the victims, a teddy bear, books and different items put by people, are pictured near a stele in memory of the victims of the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash, in Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, on March 30, 205. Investigators sifting through the wreckage of the doomed plane in the French Alps were forced on March 30 to resume the hunt on foot as bad weather hampered helicopter flights. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PERRE CLATOT (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A stone reading 'RIP 4U 9525 in deep sorrow' lays amidst a memorial of flowers and candles in front of the headquarters of German airline Germanwings in Cologne, western Germany, on March 30, 2015. Officials say that the co-pilot of a Germanwings A320 Airbus plane that crashed on March 24, 2015 in the French Alps locked the captain out of the cockpit of the Airbus jet and deliberately crashed Flight 4U 9525, bound for Duesseldorf from Barcelona. The plane is said to have crashed at a speed of 700 kilometres (430 miles) per hour, killing all 150 on board instantly. AFP PHOTO / DPA / OLIVER BERG +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of the University hospital were Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who flew his Airbus into a French mountainside, had been treated, is pictured on March 27, 2015, in Duesseldorf, western Germany. Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who French authorities say appeared to deliberately crash a Germanwings flight, was a life-long flying enthusiast with no apparent psychological problems or terrorist links. into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, hid a serious illness from the airline, prosecutors said Friday amid reports he was severely depressed. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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They found no suicide note or confession, "nor was there any evidence of a political or religious background to what happened", they added.

Germanwings said Lubitz had not submitted any sick note that would have grounded him on Tuesday, March 24, the day of the crash.

In France, authorities said they had recovered between 400 and 600 body parts strewn across the Alpine crash site. No bodies were found intact and DNA testing would be the best way to identify the remains, Patrick Touron, deputy head of the criminal research division of France's Gendarmerie, told reporters at the site. Investigators would look for pieces of uniform to try to identify the crew including Lubitz.

Lubitz's mental health - and what Germanwings and parent company Lufthansa knew about it - could become central questions in any future legal case over the crash. Under German law, employees are required to inform their employers immediately if they are unable to work.

Aerial View of Germanwings Crash Site

A hospital in Duesseldorf said Lubitz had visited to receive a diagnosis as recently as March 10. It would not give further details because of patient confidentiality rules but said media reports he was treated there for depression were inaccurate.

Reports in German media suggested Lubitz had suffered from depression in the past, and that Lufthansa would have been aware of at least some of that history.

Germany's Bild newspaper, citing internal documents forwarded by Lufthansa's Aero Medical Center to German authorities, reported that Lubitz had suffered a "serious depressive episode" around the time he suspended his pilot training in 2009. It said he subsequently spent over a year in psychiatric treatment.

Lufthansa and German prosecutors declined to comment on the report. The airline's CEO Carsten Spohr said on Thursday there was nothing in his past suggest Lubitz was a risk, and that after he resumed his training, he passed all tests with "flying colors".

An international agreement generally limits airline liability to around $157,400 for each passenger who dies in a crash, but if families can prove an airline was negligent they can pursue compensation for greater damages in lawsuits.

"I DON'T FEEL ANGER"

Lawyers who have represented families in past airline disasters told Reuters that potential lawsuits could focus on whether Germanwings properly screened the co-pilot before and during his employment, and on whether the airline had adequate safety policies controlling access to its cockpits.

Within hours after French prosecutors disclosed their theory that the crash was deliberate, several airlines changed their rules to require two crew members in the cockpit at all times, a measure already mandatory in the United States but not in Europe.

How Cockpit Security Measures Played Into Germanwings Crash

Lufthansa announced on Friday that it too would change its rules to require a second crew member in the cockpit. On Thursday, Spohr had said he saw no need to do so, sparking a social media backlash.

Brussels announced it would recommend that rule change to all EU airlines. Such a recommendation can be implemented faster than changing European regulations to impose the requirement.

Robert Tansell Oliver, whose 37-year-old American son Robert Oliver Calvo was killed in the crash, said the family was not eager to sue. His son, a father of two small children, had been working for a fashion company in Barcelona.

"I don't feel anger. I'm really sorry for the parents of that young pilot. I can't imagine what they are going through right now," the father said outside a hotel near Barcelona airport where family members of victims have been staying.

"MAD SUICIDAL ACTION"

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the German airline had an obligation to share information about Lubitz.

"I am careful when there is a judicial inquiry, but everything points to a criminal, mad, suicidal action that we cannot comprehend," Valls told iTELE.

Lubitz was described by acquaintances in his hometown of Montabaur in western Germany as a friendly but quiet man who learned to fly gliders at a local club before advancing to commercial aviation as a co-pilot at Germanwings in 2013.

A friend who met Lubitz six years ago and flew with him in gliding school said he had become increasingly withdrawn over the past year.

Before Lubitz became a co-pilot in late 2013, the friend said the two had gone to movies and clubs together. But he noticed at two birthday parties they attended over the past year that he had retreated into a shell, speaking very little.

"Flying was his life," said the friend, who agreed to speak to Reuters about Lubitz's mental state on condition of anonymity. "He always used to be a quiet companion, but in the last year that got worse."

(Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf, Victoria Bryan and Michelle Martin in Berlin, Andy Callus in Paris, Marco Trujillo in Barcelona and Eric Gaillard in Seyne-les-Alpes; Writing by Noah Barkin and Peter Graff; Editing by Janet McBride andGiles Elgood)

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