Why Did Andreas Lubitz Crash an Airbus A320 into the Alps?

The whole world was shocked when a young co-pilot deliberately crashed an A320 airbus into the Alps, killing everyone on board. We ask why this could possibly have happened.
Why Did Andreas Lubitz Crash an Airbus A320 into the Alps?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

On March 24 2015, the entire world was shocked by the plane crash of an Airbus A230 plane in the Alps. Onboard, were 150 people and five dogs. It was a huge tragedy that immediately mobilized several countries. In the meantime, the world looked for answers to the disaster.

It was then that the debate began about the overall safety of low-cost airlines. Furthermore, the age of a plane that, perhaps, should no longer have been in the air. For several hours, reasons were sought.

We know that technology sometimes fails and accidents happen. They’re almost always due to carelessness, an error, or poor maintenance. Consequently, few of us ever dreamt that it wasn’t the machine but the man that was responsible for this particular disaster. A young co-pilot who, of his own free will, crashed the plane into the French Alps, taking with him all of the lives on board.

It’s virtually impossible to understand this kind of behavior. However, as human beings, we always need to find a reason, a reason that justifies (if it’s possible) these types of inconceivable acts. The kinds of acts that originate in the as yet undiscovered dark part of our nature, where disease, irrationality, or the simple act of causing evil resides.

Therefore, we ask the question what led Andreas Lubitz to crash an Airbus A320 into the Alps? We’ll take a look at the possible causes, considering certain information that’s now come to light on the matter.

A pilot certified as fit but with psychological problems

Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cabin of the plane when, suddenly, and voluntarily, he decided to press the descent button. This meant that he and the rest of the passengers would lose their lives crashing into the Alps.

According to the Lufthansa company, the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 had been declared fit for duty. In fact, nobody suspected anything amiss, and Lubitz was a benchmark of competence and professionalism.

However, a medical report was found certifying that he was far from fit. As a matter of fact, his psychological condition meant that he wasn’t fit to continue working. Lubitz was aware of this but, far from accepting it, he destroyed the report without the company even being aware of it. In fact, he went to work when, in reality, he should never have done so.

According to the published information, Andreas Lubitz suffered from severe depression. In addition, he was in the process of breaking up with his girlfriend. This caused him emotional problems that could’ve caused his suicidal reaction.

As a matter of fact, these depressive disorders were a constant in his life. Indeed, he’d already gone through something similar a long time ago when he received treatment for an episode of severe depression.


Severe depression and ‘extended suicide’

However, the question is, can a severe depression lead a person not only to their own suicide but to kill 150 other people as well?

When talking about depression, we must bear in mind that no psychological problem manifests itself in the same way in all people. In other words, there’s no easily identifiable ‘unique’ pattern of depression. Often, there may be various associated disorders. For instance, it may be that, instead of severe depression, Lubitz suffered from psychotic depression. We simply don’t know.

Causes of depression

The reasons for a person to become depressed can be extremely varied and complex. Nevertheless, there’s always a feeling of loss of control over their life situation and their emotions. They also feel extremely negative about the future. In fact, they feel like there’s no hope. When these sensations are magnified, it often leads to the desire for suicide. 

Usually, depression that occurs with thoughts of suicide occurs in 15 percent of patients with this disorder. Nonetheless, it’s not frequent for suicidal tendencies to be accompanied by homicidal tendencies. Indeed, it’s unusual that when an individual wants to end their own life, they also choose to ‘punish’ more people, even less so when they’re people totally unrelated to them.

In the event that this desire exists, we’re talking about ‘extended suicide’. These are situations in which the individual, in addition to ending their own life, seeks to take with them the lives of innocent others. Their desperation and frustration are so high that it isn’t enough for them to harm themselves. Instead, they seek to magnify their desire for aggression and manifest it toward others as well. They feel rage and a desire for revenge.

In the case of Andreas Lubitz, we know that his great obsession was flying. It’s likely that his emotional problems had made him relapse into a new depression. It appears that this condition was lying dormant in his psychological state. In fact, in the past, it had delayed him from obtaining his degree.


The psychological report that concluded that he was unfit for work and couldn’t fly was certainly the trigger for him thinking, not only about suicide but about revenge. It seems he decided that this would be his last flight and that he wasn’t going to be the only one to feel pain. He decided that the suffering was going to take on magnified dimensions, and, without a doubt, it did.

Some experts explain that these incomprehensible acts are often guided by Amok syndrome. This is a spontaneous and uncontrolled reaction to harm others or to kill indiscriminately.

On the other hand, many believe that the terrible act that Andreas Lubitz committed was premeditated to an exacting degree. It may even be that the Alps had some meaning for him since, according to what they say, he was fixated with this particular landscape.

People always need an explanation for acts like the one that happened with the Airbus A230. We want to know and understand the reasons why an apparently normal man decided to end the lives of 150 people. Nevertheless, sometimes, we simply have to assume that the irrational, like evil, exists and is always there yet completely out of our control. It’s unpredictable and voracious, taking away the lives of those we love most.

Needless to say, we give our most sincere support to the families, and our heartfelt tribute and respect to the victims. Rest in peace.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.