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Germanwings Co-Pilot Accelerated Toward Crash, Officials Say

The crash site of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Evidence from the flight data recorder shows the co-pilot accelerated as the airliner headed toward the mountainside, French investigators say.

Citing data from the flight recorder of crashed Germanwings Flight 9525, officials say that the co-pilot accelerated several times as the airliner made its fatal descent with 150 people on board last week.

France's aviation safety agency says the plane's newly recovered data recorder shows the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, set the aircraft's autopilot to put it on a course and altitude that would crash it into a mountainside in the French Alps. He dialed the plane's altitude down to 100 feet, the lowest setting.

"Then, several times in the course of the descent, the pilot changed the automatic pilot settings to increase the speed of the airplane in its descent," the Bureau of Inquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety says.

The findings come from the second black box flight recorder, which was recovered Thursday. Prosecutors have previously said that it seems Lubitz crashed the airliner intentionally.

Lubitz had "apparently used his tablet computer to search the Internet for ways to commit suicide and for the safety features of cockpit doors," according to German prosecutors cited by Krishnadev's report for the Two-Way Thursday.

The plane's audio recorder, which was found soon after the crash in the French Alps, showed that its pilot pounded on the cockpit door and yelled to be let back in during the final moments before the crash.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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