Psychiatrist warns against rush reaction to air disaster

Flowers and candles are placed on the ground outside the Germanwings headquarters at Cologne-Bonn airport following the French Alps crash Credit: Reuters

Pilots with a history of depression should not be banned from flying, a leading British psychiatrist has said warning against a rushed 'Shipman-style' reaction to the French Alps air disaster.

Reports have suggested Andreas Lubitz had suffered from mental health issues before he steered the Germanwings Airbus A320 into the mountain range, killing all 150 people on board.

But Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), told the Observer the aviation industry should not "rush" to action in the wake of the crash.

He said that the move would be similar to the policies put in place following the murders carried out by Dr Harold Shipman, who is thought to have killed between 215 and 260 people.

Philip Bramley, whose son Paul, 28, was one of the three Britons on board the Dusseldorf-bound flight, said yesterday: "I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly. We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands."