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Recovery Efforts Continue For Victims of Germanwings Crash

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the French Alps, the search goes on for the remains of passengers killed when a Germanwings flight went down last week. Meanwhile, investigators are trying to learn whatever they can about co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who's believed to have purposely taken the Airbus 320 down, killing himself and 149 other people. Here's the latest from NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

(SOUNDBITE OF FRENCH NEWSCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: (Speaking French).

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: French television news reports showed bulldozers clearing a path through a forest of pine trees as the search for victims on the Alpine mountainside goes into its seventh day. A road to the crash site should be completed by tomorrow. Until now, shifts of emergency workers have had to be lowered onto the mountainside by helicopter. There they continue to comb through a five-acre area of wreckage. So far the DNA remains of 78 passengers have been identified with 72 people yet unaccounted for. The downed plane was also carrying two babies. And workers are still looking for the plane's second black box.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JEAN PAUL TROADEC: (Speaking French).

BEARDSLEY: "It could bring more information on the intentions of the co-pilot," says Jean Paul Troadec, former head of the French Aviation Accidents Bureau. Troadec says the flight data recorder should show if the aircraft had any technical problems and whether the co-pilot, after putting it into descent mode, took up the controls again to guide it into the mountain.

(SOUNDBITE OF GERMAN NEWSCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: (Speaking German).

BEARDSLEY: The weekend also brought new revelations from Germany. The German media are reporting that 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz may have seen a doctor for physical problems as well as psychological. According to the newspaper Bild, Lubitz had the beginnings of a detached retina, a condition that would have led to the loss of his pilot's license.

The tabloid also says it has obtained a transcript of the cockpit voice recorder. According to the newspaper, the pilot is heard shouting, for God's sake open the door, before the plane crashed into the mountain. An unidentified former girlfriend of the co-pilot also spoke to the German press. She said Lubitz often had nightmares of falling and once told her that he would do something that would change the system and make him unforgettable. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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