Updated 24 April 2015

Killer pilot Lubitz may have drugged captain

There is speculation that Germanwings airplane co-pilot Andreas Lubitz spiked his captain's drink with diuretic drugs, which commonly cause frequent urination.


The Germanwings airplane co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who crashed a passenger jet with 150 people, may have spiked his captain's drink with diuretic drugs, according to a report.

Investigators have found evidence on a laptop found in Lubitz’s apartment that he searched for information for drugs with a diuretic effect, reported a German tabloid newspaper The Express.

It claimed that this could have been used in a drink for Captain Patrick Sondheimer in order to get him to leave the Airbus A320 cockpit, however, the newspaper could not get confirmation from the prosecutor's office about this.

"Diuretic drugs essentially increase urinary output in a person taking them to reduce excess water and salt in the body," said Health24's resident doctor Dr Owen Wiese. "There are various kinds of diuretics, all with different mechanisms."

He said this medication is usually prescribed by a doctor and is used for conditions like blood pressure control and to decrease water retention in the case of heart failure.

Possible side effects

Leg cramps can be a common side effect and the medicine may also alter the rhythm of the heart. Some patients may feel thirsty, dizzy or lethargic. Males may also experience erection problems on diuretics, and gout may be precipitated.

According to Reuters, German prosecutors said the 27-year-old appears to have also researched suicide methods and cockpit door security in the days before he crashed the plane. It provides the first evidence, suggesting that his actions may have been premeditated.

Based on information from the cockpit voice recorder, investigators believe Lubitz, locked his captain out of the Airbus A320 cockpit on March 24 and deliberately slammed the plane into a French mountain.

Also read:

Germanwings crash: Call to stop shaming mental illnesses

Andreas Lubitz: inside the mind of a suicide killer

Could the Germanwings disaster have been prevented?


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Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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