News24

Pilot error caused crash - claim

2010-05-05 22:17

Beirut - A preliminary report on the crash of an Ethiopian airliner in Lebanon in which all 90 people on board died earlier this year clearly points to pilot error, according to a source close to the probe.

"The accident was due to a series of errors on the part of the pilots who failed to take into account the signals emitted by the plane's instruments," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"The report indicates that the plane was in good condition and points to error on the part of the pilot and co-pilot, both of whom had little experience with the jet," the source added.

The pilots erroneously believed that the jet was on automatic pilot and as a result failed to heed the alarm signals as the plane veered off course before crashing, he added.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 went down minutes after taking off from Beirut in bad weather on January 25, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.

Lebanese officials have previously said that data recovered from the plane's black box showed all instruments were working well until it plunged into the Mediterranean in a fierce storm.

The preliminary report, which has not been made public, indicates that both the pilot's and co-pilot's inexperience with the jet was "certainly behind the accident", the source said.

The pilot had one month experience with the Boeing 737-800 and his co-pilot had four months experience, he added.

Lebanese officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The probe into the crash is being led by the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA), France's accident investigation agency.