French investigators: Co-pilot accelerated plane on descent

Inhabitants pay tribute to the victims in front of a stele, a stone slab erected as a monument, set up in the area where a Germanwings aircraft crashed in the French Alps, in Le Vernet, France, Saturday, March 28, 2015. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountain Tuesday killed all 150 people aboard, and has raised questions about the mental state of the co-pilot. Authorities believe the 27-year-old German deliberately sought to destroy the Airbus A320 as it flew from Barcelona to Duesseldorf. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

PARIS (AP) – The French air accident investigation agency says the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings flight repeatedly accelerated the plane as he used the automatic pilot to descend the A320 into the Alps.

The BEA agency said in a statement Friday that investigators have begun studying the black box data recorder from the plane, found at the crash site Thursday.

It says an initial reading of the recorder shows that the pilot used the automatic pilot to put the plane into a descent and then repeatedly during the descent adjusted the automatic pilot to speed up the plane.

Based on recordings from the black box voice recorder, investigators say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally crashed the plane. All 150 people aboard were killed.

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