In an interview, a victim’s relatives comment on the deleted cell phone data
A few days before Christmas, the largest German tabloid did not shy away from reporting again on the Germanwings crash on March 24, 2015. A victim’s family from the former East Germany, who had lost their adult son in the crash, was ready to comment on the subject of “deleted cell phone data,” and offered the son’s cell phone, found at the crash site, available for examination. The NAND memory – on which all the data of a mobile phone, such as SMS histories, photos, videos, and phone records are located – was removed from the device and deleted, as confirmed by an IT expert. The tabloid report raised the question of who had manipulated the cell phone (as well as those of the other crash victims) – and why.
The British crisis agency Kenyon was commissioned by Lufthansa to hand over the cell phones to the relatives after they had previously received the devices from the French investigation authorities. In other words, the phones first went to French authorities, then to Kenyon, and only then to victims’ relatives. To be thorough, the tabloid requested an explanation from the French investigative authorities regarding the deletion of the phone memories, but the request remains unanswered.
In an attempt at an explanation, victim lawyer Elmar Giemulla speculated that the recorded events of the final moments on board might have been too disturbing for the bereaved families. He must therefore be assuming that photo or video recordings by passengers indeed existed.
Well, the fact is that the relatives have not been spared in any way. The Marseille public prosecutor’s office invited victims and their lawyers to Paris on June 11, 2015. There they were shown a simulation from the pilot’s cockpit perspective to the point of impact. This simulation is said to have been accompanied by the original audio recordings from the cockpit voice recorder. According to media reports, the demonstration was so shocking for the relatives that about one in four of the around 200 people left the room.
It is interesting to contrast the simulation scenario with the aforementioned explanation about shielding the families from shocking cell phone images.
In this context, it must be mentioned that the French authorities have never provided the original data or copies from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder to either the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) or the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office. Several inquiries from the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office to the French investigative authorities regarding the release of the cockpit voice recorder have remained unanswered each time.
We must twice ask the question: “Why?”
First: Why was the cell phone data irretrievably deleted?
Second: Why have the German investigation authorities never received the original recordings from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder?
Deleted cell phone data and missing original recordings – Why?
How aware were the passengers on Germanwings flight 4U9525 of the impending crash?