Dec 25, 2013

Pilot crashed plane on purpose, aviation officials say

Thirty-three dead: the wreckage of the plane. Photo: AP
(Telegraph UK) The pilot of a Mozambique Airlines plane that crashed killing all 33 people on board brought it down deliberately, aviation officials say.

Flight recorders showed flight TM470 went down on November 29 while Captain Herminio dos Santos Fernandes manipulated the autopilot in a way which "denotes a clear intention" to bring the plane down, said Joao Abreu, the head of the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute.

"All these operations required detailed knowledge of the plane’s controls and showed a clear intention to crash the aircraft"

The plane was heading for Angola, but went down in torrential rain in the swamps of Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park, killing its six crew and 27 passengers.

Mr Abreu told a news conference that the pilot locked himself in the cockpit, ignored warning signals and did not allow his co-pilot back in moments before the Embraer 190 hit the ground.

"During these actions you can hear low and high-intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit," he said.

"All these operations required detailed knowledge of the plane’s controls and showed a clear intention to crash the aircraft," he said, adding that the pilot’s motives were unknown.

The black boxes retrieved from the crash site were analysed at the US National Transport Safety Board in Washington.


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