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Lufthansa head Spohr: Germanwings investigation 'will take time'

Lufthansa head Carsten Spohr has said it will take time to establish in detail what happened to flight 4U9525. French magazine Paris Match and German daily Bild claim to have flight footage retrieved from a mobile phone.

The head of Germanwings said on Wednesday that time was needed to understand the events that led the Germanwings flight to crash in the French Alps last week.

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr spoke to journalists as he visited the crash site along with Germanwings head Thomas Winkelmann.

"We are learning more every day about the causes of the accident," Spohr said in a statement. "It will take a long, long time for all of us to understand how this could happen."

However, Spohr refused to comment further on what the airline knew about the mental health of the pilot.

Spohr reiterated that the company would do all it could to support the bereaved. "We will not only help this week, we will help for as long as help is necessary," he said.

Spohr and Winkelmann, who arrived by helicopter in the town of Seyne-les-Alpes, placed flowers at a memorial stone facing the

difficult-to-access crash site.

Authorities on Wednesday said they had finished retrieving "visible remains" from the crash site. Officials from France's national forensic laboratory said it would take months to complete the

identification process.

Mobile phone 'footage' questioned

France's Paris Match and the German mass-market Bild paper published detailed accounts of the plane's last minutes, claiming they were based on quotes from a cell phone video found at the crash site.

However, French prosecutors said investigators did not have the video and added that remnants of mobile phones found at the crash site would probably be too damaged to yield footage.

"In the event that someone has such a video, they should turn it over to police without delay," Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters on Wednesday.

Investigators have said they believe copilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the plane, which was traveling from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Lufthansa has said it knew Lubitz had suffered from an

episode of "severe depression"

before completing his flight training some six years ago.

Lufthansa said Lubitz broke off his pilot training for several months but passed medical tests that confirmed his fitness to fly. When Lubitz resumed training in 2009, he

provided documents

showing he had a "previous episode of severe depression," Lufthansa said.

Düsseldorf state prosecutors said on Monday Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies before he received his pilot's license.

rc/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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