Story highlights

A French prosecutor says a criminal inquiry has been opened into the Germanwings crash

An investigation reveals co-pilot Andreas Lubitz feared he was losing his sight

Lubitz visited seven doctors in the month before the crash, the prosecutor says

CNN —  

Before he plunged a plane into the French Alps, Germanwings Flight 9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz feared he was going blind and went to see dozens of doctors, a French prosecutor said Thursday.

In the month leading up to the crash, Lubitz consulted doctors seven times, including one visit to a generalist, three visits to a psychiatrist and three visits to a nose, ear and throat specialist, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters.

The statements by the prosecutor provide new details about the medical and psychological problems that investigators have long suggested were likely Lubitz’s motive for crashing the commercial jet.

Lubitz, 27, told one of his doctors that he had consulted numerous eye doctors and numerous neurologists, Robin said. And during the five years leading up to the crash, he consulted a total of 41 physicians, Robin said.

Lubitz, according to the prosecutor, feared he was losing his sight and suffered from severe depression involving “psychosis accompanied by vision problems,” according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

He indicated to those who were close to him that “life no longer had any meaning considering the loss of his eyesight,” Robin said.

And he had complained to doctors that he saw only “30 to 35 percent of objects in dark,” saw light flashes and couldn’t sleep because of his vision problems, according to the prosecutor.

In March, a European government official who’d been briefed on the investigation told CNN that after Lubitz complained about vision problems, an eye doctor diagnosed him with a psychosomatic disorder and gave him an “unfit for work” note.

German police searching Lubitz’s apartment after the crash found prescription drugs to treat depression and anxiety. Robin said he has ordered toxicology tests on the co-pilot’s remains and is still awaiting results.

Robin announced Thursday that France is opening a criminal inquiry into the March 24 crash, which killed all 150 people aboard the plane.

That opens up the possibility that others could face prosecution, even though investigators believe it was Lubitz who deliberately took down the plane.

Key questions remain unanswered: How much did the airline know about Lubitz’s health issues, how much should they have known and was there any way the crash could have been prevented?

A Germanwings spokesman told CNN that the airline can’t comment on the prosecutor’s findings, as Lubitz’s medical details are “subject to medical confidentiality.”

CNN’s Lucy Pawle contributed to this report.