Human error caused Durban plane crash

2011-10-04 19:30

Johannesburg - A 2009 plane crash in Merebank, Durban, happened because the pilot switched off the aircraft's only functioning engine, according to a SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) report released on Tuesday.

The investigation revealed that the right engine of the SA Airlink Jetstream 4100 failed, but that the aircraft could have continued the flight safely on one engine alone.

Instead of shutting down the malfunctioning engine, the pilot switched off the left engine - which was serviceable, although it had a worn seal plate.

The pilot, Captain Allister Freeman, tried to land on a school sports field in Merebank, 3km from Durban International Airport, when the plane floundered shortly after take-off on September 24.

Freeman died later in hospital of severe internal injuries suffered in the crash. The co-pilot, first officer Sonja Bierman and flight attendant Rudelle Oosthuizen were injured.

Municipal worker Abraham Mthethwa was injured when he was hit by the plane's wing.

In the report, the SACAA said the inappropriate crew response prompted a number of recommendations to prevent similar accidents in future. It would assess all aspects of engine inoperative training at flight schools and increase simulator training.

The SACAA had already introduced an audit of compliance with Air Operator Certificate requirements.

It also recommended to the United States' Federal Aviation Administration to see to it that the aircraft manufacturer find a solution for the engine defect identified.

  • farmworker - 2011-10-04 19:35

    Thank God the Pilot is not Fram Mazibuko otherwise all blacks would have had to take the responsibility of this pilot

      Mswati - 2011-10-04 20:15

      Sad but true, the Holy than though attitude sucks in this country

      Winsome - 2011-10-04 20:16

      Only an idiot would turn something like this into a racist issue - for goodness sake let it go!

      farmworker - 2011-10-04 20:22

      @Winsome when did the colors go? I we supposed to be color blind now?

      Mswati - 2011-10-04 20:37

      @Winsome Mouton we all know that the truth hurts.

      Prof - 2011-10-05 08:15

      We are not color blind.

  • Oboa - 2011-10-05 08:30

    So it's the pilot's fault that he only has one engine?? News24, you suck.

      Phlegm - 2011-10-05 09:07

      It is the pilots fault that he switched off the only working engine and it was not News24 who decided this but rather the finding of the Civil Aviation Authority.

  • 2fly - 2011-10-05 09:18

    Being in the cockpit in a real life emergency is no joke. Training can help you handle the aircraft but no amount of training can help control workload and stress level at the time of emergency, more so when you only have 400ft between you and the ground. It's about being "Calm Under Pressure". That's a tough one...

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