Germanwings co-pilot tore up doctor’s notes excusing him from work, prosecutors say

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MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — On the day he flew a passenger jet into a mountain, Andreas Lubitz had been excused from work by a doctor.

German prosecutors say they found torn-up sick notes for the day of the crash as they searched Lubitz's homes in two German cities. They say he appeared to have hidden evidence of an illness from his employer.

The prosecutors aren't saying what the illness was -- and whether it was mental or physical. But German news media say he had a history of depression, and that he may have had a falling out with his girlfriend.

Sick notes from doctors excusing employees from work are common in Germany and issued even for minor illnesses.

Prosecutors also say that no suicide note was found in their search -- and no indication of any political or religious motivation for Lubitz's actions.

A German aviation official told The Associated Press that Lubitz's file at the country's Federal Aviation Office contained a note indicating that he needed "specific regular medical examination." Such a note could refer to either a physical or mental condition.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had issued Lubitz a third-class medical certificate. In order to obtain such a certificate, a pilot must be cleared of psychological problems including psychosis, bipolar disorder and personality disorder "that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts."

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