Serb pilots blame ‘pressures’ of working in India for Dubai-Mangalore AI plane crash

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BELGRADE - Denying media reports that a sleepy captain was responsible for an Air India plane crash in May that killed 158 passengers, the Serbian Pilots Association has said that pilot fatigue caused by working conditions in India should be blamed for the mishap.

The Globe and Mail quoted the Serb pilots as saying that the captain, Zlatko Glusica, must not be “victimized” because the accident could have happened due to the fatigue caused by “pressures” while working in India.

“The individualization of guilt … is intended to shift the responsibility from those who have driven the crew and the passengers to death,” the group said in a statement.

The Air India Express flight from Dubai to Mangalore overshot a hilltop runway and crashed over a cliff, killing 158 people instantly, including Glusica and the co-pilot on May 22. Eight people however survived the crash.

Upon examining the information contained in the digital flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which were found at the crash site, the Indian panel had blamed Glusica for his late reaction and failure to follow many standard operating procedures during the landing.

The crash report added to growing concern worldwide about the dangers posed by exhausted pilots working taxing schedules. Pilot unions are fighting efforts by budget-strapped airlines to get pilots to work longer hours, the paper said.

However the Serbian pilots association said that the Indian panel “created an ugly picture about the Serbian pilots … without taking into account the circumstances” that led to the crash.(ANI)

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