Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Plane crash pilot 'disorientated'

The scene in Mangalore of the Air India plane crash in May

The pilot of an airliner that crashed on landing killing 158 people had only just woken up and was disoriented, a report has indicated.

Air India flight commander Zlatko Glusica's reactions were slow as he approached Mangalore airport, the government Court of Inquiry into the May 22 crash concluded.

Only eight people survived when the flight from Dubai overshot a hilltop runway, crashed and plunged over a cliff.

The inquiry examined information from the digital flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft, which were found at the crash site.

The panel said that Mr Glusica, who was suffering from "sleep inertia" and was "disoriented" when the plane began its descent, reacted late and did not follow many standard operating procedures during the landing.

The data recorders caught the sound of heavy nasal snoring and breathing.

Co-pilot, H.S. Ahluwalia, is heard repeatedly warning Mr Glusica to abort the landing and try the procedure again. The last words captured by the recorders as the plane crashed were one of the pilots saying, "Oh my God."

Mr Glusica, a Serbian, had more than 10,200 hours of flying experience, while Mr Ahluwalia had 3,650 hours.

India's Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said he had received the report and the government would study it before taking any action.

The Mangalore crash was the worst in India since the 1996 mid-air collision between a Saudi airliner and a Kazakh cargo plane near New Delhi that killed 349 people.

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