Marseille Prosecutor, Brice Robin said there was a “deliberate attempt by the co-pilot to destroy the aircraft,” the Germanwings.
It seems to have been no accident, officials said Thursday.
Information collected by investigators suggests the co-pilot who was in control of the Germanwings airplane when it crashed, killing all 150 people on board, was acting deliberately, the prosecutor said Thursday.
The co-pilot apparently "wanted to destroy the aircraft," Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said.
Lufthansa officials are "speechless that this aircraft has been deliberately crashed by the co-pilot," CEO Carsten Spohr said. The company owns Germanwings.
It's unknown whether the co-pilot planned his actions in advance, Robin said. But the co-pilot, 28-year-old German national Andreas Lubitz, "took advantage" of a moment in which the pilot left the cockpit.
Screaming could be heard on the audio recording only in the last few minutes, and death was instantaneous for those on board when the plane crashed, Robin said.
The horrific description seemed to leave the prosecutor at a loss for words. It is not being described as a "terrorist attack," and the killing of 150 people would generally not be described as a "suicide" either, Robin said.
Lubitz was not known to be on any terrorism list, and his religion was not immediately known, Robin said.
The picture of the plane's final minutes comes largely from what was discovered in the mangled cockpit voice recorder.
The co-pilot "activated the descent" of the plane when he was alone in the cockpit, Robin said. That can only be done deliberately, he said.
The most plausible explanation of the crash is that the co-pilot "through deliberate abstention, refused to open the cabin door ... to the chief pilot, and used the button" to cause the plane to lose altitude, Robin said.
The co-pilot was "fully qualified to pilot the aircraft on his own," Robin added. The audio recording showed his breathing to be steady, with no sign that he had a heart attack or other medical issue.
He only had about 100 hours of experience on the type of aircraft he was flying, but he had all the necessary certifications and qualifications to pilot the aircraft alone, the prosecutor said.
The bodies of the Germanwings crash victims will not be released until all DNA identification work has been done -- a process likely to last several weeks, Robin said.
The Germanwings media office told CNN the captain of Flight 9525 had more than 6,000 hours of flight time. He has been with Germanwings since May 2014 and had worked with Lufthansa and Condor before then.
The co-pilot has been with Germanwings since September 2013 and had completed 630 hours of flight time, the media office said. The co-pilot had trained at the Lufthansa flight training center in Bremen, Germany.