Not a single body has been found intact at the Germanwings crash site in the French Alps.
Investigators have discovered around 400 body parts after the plane was deliberately ploughed into a mountain side earlier this week – killing all 150 people on board.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, locked the captain and all other staff out of the Airbus A320 cockpit and put the aircraft into a descent.
Searches conducted at Lubitz’s homes in Duesseldorf and in the town of Montabaur turned up documents pointing to ‘an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment’, but no suicide note was found, said Ralf Herrenbrueck, a spokesman for the Duesseldorf prosecutors’ office.
They included ripped-up sick notes covering the day of the crash, which indicates that he hid his illness from his employers.
Prosecutors didn’t specify what illness Lubitz may have been suffering from, nor say whether it was mental or physical.
Neighbors described a man whose physical health was superb and road race records show Lubitz took part in several long-distance runs.
People in Montabaur who knew Lubitz said that he had been thrilled with his job at Germanwings and seemed very happy.
Police working to recover remains from the crash site said they so far have recovered between 400 and 600 pieces of remains from the victims.
Col. Patrick Touron, of the gendarme service, said DNA samples have been taken from objects provided by victims’ families, such as combs or toothbrushes, that could help identify them.
‘We haven’t found a single body intact,’ he said.
The rough terrain means that recovery workers have to be backed up by mountain rescuers.
He continued: ‘We have particularly difficult conditions, and each person needs to be roped up.’
The European Aviation Safety Agency has recommended that airlines in the future always have two people in the cockpit.