Best of Slow Journalism: The real story of Germanwings flight 9525

Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

In a pine-filled cemetery on the outskirts of the historic German city of Montabaur stands a wooden cross. A wreath is placed around it, along with messages of love, and a toy Santa Claus. There is no indication of who is buried there other than the name “Andy”, simply engraved on the cross.

“Andy” is Andreas Günter Lubitz, a Lufthansa pilot who on 24th March 2015 deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the side of a mountain in the French Alps, killing 144 passengers and five crew members. In ‘The Real Story of Germanwings Flight 9525’, published in GQ, Joshua Hammer painstakingly recounts the trajectory that led to Lubitz committing mass homicide-suicide as well as its aftermath: the grief of the victims’ families, the response of Lufthansa and the fight to hold Lufthansa responsible.

By detailing Lubitz’s long and terrifying battle with depression, Hammer tries to understand what makes a “quiet, competitive, determined, and diligent” young man who was close to his parents and in a “stable and harmonious” relationship, commit murder in one of the most heinous ways imaginable.

‘The Real Story of Germanwings Flight 9525’ is a chilling, worthy read and is available here.

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