Berlin: French authorities on Friday embarked on the fourth of day of efforts to recover the remains of the Germanwings aircraft, which its co-pilot allegedly deliberately downed, while parent airline Lufthansa considered what changes need to be made to in-flight regulations to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy.
French authorities used helicopters from the base of Seyne-les-Alpes to reach the crash site on the steep mountain slope, as the crash site is difficult to access by land, Spanish news agency Efe reported.
The current priority of the investigators is to find the second black box in the hope that it will further clarify the sequence of events in the cockpit. The first box, found a few hours after the disaster, revealed that the co-pilot may have intentionally crashed the plane, keeping the captain locked out of the cockpit.
Forensic experts will continue searching the mountains for the mortal remains of the victims, which are then transferred to a centre in Seyne-les-Alpes for identification, using DNA samples of the victims' families who arrived at the crash site on Thursday.
French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said the repatriation of the bodies, mainly to Germany and Spain, would take time and cannot be carried out until they have recovered and identified all.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa will implement a regulation to ensure that at least two crew members remain in the cockpit at all times, given that the co-pilot had apparently initiated the plane's descent after locking the captain, who had left to use the restroom, out of the cockpit.
According to information from the German Air Traffic Control Union, the regulation is being prepared for immediate adoption.
This regulation will make it mandatory for a cabin crew member to be present in the cockpit when the captain or co-pilot leaves during the course of the flight.
This is standard procedure on intercontinental flights and in other parts of the world, but its use is limited in European airspace.