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Germanwings co-pilot lived quiet life

27 March 2015, 08:20

Montabaur - The co-pilot believed to have deliberately brought down the Germanwings plane in the French Alps grew up in the small town of Montabaur in western Germany and lived later in a flat in Dusseldorf. His neighbours in both locations barely knew him.

The houses around the parental home of Andreas Lubitz in the town of Montabaur in western Germany are generously proportioned and well kept.

Camera teams from all over the world took up station in front of the 27-year-old pilot's home within hours of a French prosecutor saying it appeared he had deliberately brought down the plane he was flying.

The police too have taken up position.

"I refuse to believe that he did it on purpose," says a 23-year-old neighbour who used to see Lubitz jogging regularly.

He acknowledges that he did not know Andreas particularly well, but he says: "I can't imagine that anyone is that egoistical."

The families here tend to keep to themselves, he adds.

Other residents in the area do not show themselves, apart from a face appearing from behind a curtain or a brief appearance at the front door.

Few want to talk. The couple who have lived next door to the family for 22 years are amazed. "It astounds us. I'm lost for words," the man says.

They also scarcely knew Andreas. They speak only of a younger brother and say that the man who is now in the news grew up here. "We are shocked. I can scarcely believe it," the woman says.

Pleasant, cheerful

A few kilometres away lies the LSC Westerwald flying club, which Lubitz joined as a teenager and where he learned gliding.

Club chair Klaus Radke says he renewed his gliding licence in autumn last year. "I got to know him at the time as an extremely pleasant, cheerful and polite person," he says.

In Dusseldorf, where he lived more recently, his neighbours were hardly aware of his existence. The flat where he lived is in an upmarket building of eight apartments in a prosperous area. Behind it is woodland with mature trees.

There is a second name on the doorbell, although it is not clear who this person is.

"I used to see him in the garage," says a neighbour from the building next door referring to Lubitz. "Mostly he didn't return my greeting."

An 18-year-old across the way says he used to see him occasionally.

Others in the neighbourhood shrug. One young man queries why there are so many police around. When he hears that the flat of the 4U9525 co-pilot is being searched, he leaves. "It's a bit much for me," he says.

An elderly man who has lived in the vicinity for years says people do not know each other and that he has no idea who Andreas Lubitz was.



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