The pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525 intended to “destroy the plane”, officials investigating the crash that killed 150 people have said.
Investigators confirmed this morning that only the German co-pilot was in the cockpit at the time of the descent after the pilot had left for a “natural call”.
In a press conference this morning French public prosecutor Brice Robin said investigators believe the co-pilot - named as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz - then refused to open the door to the pilot and began to take the plane down. He used the keys of the monitoring system to speed up the descent, Robin said.
"The intention was to destroy this plane."
The pilot was not known as a terrorist and Robin declined to call his action a suicide. “I can’t call this a suicide, but it is a legitimate question to ask.”
It was "too early to say" whether it was a planned action, he added.
"He was breathing normally, he did not utter a single word," after the pilot left the cabin, he added.
"We do not have sentiment that there was panic (in cockpit) as he was breathing normally.
"I think he refused to open the door and turned the button to get down the plane. It was a voluntary action on the part of the co-pilot... He is not known as a terrorist, absolutely not.
"He had no reason to disable contact with other planes," Robin said. "We could hear the cries minutes before the plane crashed."
"Death was sudden and immediate."
After the prosecutor revealed the pilot's name, there have been widespread attempts to understand what reasons the young man would have to deliberately crash the plane.
Lubitz had been flying for Germanwings since September 2013 after being trained with the airline’s parent company, Lufthansa, and had clocked up 630 hours in the air.
Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said Lubitz had passed all the psychological tests required for training and undergone regular physical examinations.
At a press conference, Spohr revealed that Lubitz had started training in 2008 - initially working as a flight attendant - and said there was nothing unusual in the results of his training.
But he did state that there had been a gap, without saying what had caused it.
Police have been brought in to keep photographers away from the family home, as the picture below shows.
Meanwhile rescue workers prepared to meet relatives of the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash victims, upon their arrival in Seyne-les-Alpes, near the site of the crash. The recovery of bodies is expected to continue until at least the end of next week.
And in nearby Le Vernet, a ceremony believed to be for relatives of the deceased of the crashed flight was held by emergency workers. They held flags of the nations of those who died on Tuesday.