French aviation investigators said the first analysis of the second "black box" from the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps last month reinforces the theory that the co-pilot crashed the plane deliberately, killing all 150 people aboard.
Investigators announced Friday that the flight data recorder from the Germanwings plane indicates the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, having locked his partner out of the cockpit, re-set the automatic pilot and repeatedly increased the speed as the plane made its deadly descent.
The flight data recorder was recovered on Thursday. The device records crucial technical information from nearly every instrument on the plane, helping to provide clues about the moments leading up to a plane crash.
Online searches for 'suicide'
Also Thursday, German prosecutors investigating the crash said Lubitz had searched online for information on suicide and cockpit door security in the days before the crash.
In a statement, prosecutors said they found the information on a computer tablet in Lubitz's Dusseldorf, Germany apartment. They said his browser history was not erased and his search terms were traced from March 16 to March 23, the day before the crash.
Voice recordings from the first black box, recovered shortly after the crash, led investigators to conclude that the 27-year-old Lubitz locked the pilot, Patrick Sondheimer, out of the cockpit before the plane crashed.
Lubitz acted when pilot left cockpit
Investigators say that Lubitz locked Sondheimer out when he left the cockpit to go to the lavatory an hour after the Germanwings flight left Barcelona, Spain en route to Dusseldorf.
They say Lubitz then put the Airbus A320 into a steady descent, ignoring the pilot's frantic demands to open the cockpit door, which could be heard on the plane's cockpit voice recorder.
Lubitz told the flight school for Lufthansa, the corporate parent for its budget carrier Germanwings, in 2009 that he had had a "serious depressive episode," but Lufthansa certified him as fit to fly.