Snoozing pilot blamed for Air India crash

17th Nov 2010

A snoozing pilot has been blamed for a plane crash in southern India earlier this year, which claimed the lives of 158 passengers.

The Air India Express aircraft crashed in May after approaching a runway at Mangalore airport at the wrong height and angle.

According to an official investigation into the incident, the Serbian pilot - Zlatko Glusica - was “disorientated” having been asleep for much of the three-hour flight.

Data recorders captured the sound of snoring, according to the Hindustan Times, with Glusica found to have been affected by “sleep inertia”.

The findings correlate with information obtained from data recorders in the aftermath of the crash which revealed the pilot was suddenly ordered to abort the landing before crying “overshoot, overshoot” in his final exchanges with air traffic control.

The Boeing 737 aircraft subsequently overshot the runway, plunged into a steep gorge and burst into flames.

Only eight of those onboard survived.


Air India Express

Many of the passengers on the low-cost flight from Dubai to Mangalore were Indian migrant workers returning from the Gulf.

The report into what was India’s first major air crash in ten years was submitted to India’s civil aviation ministry earlier this week.

Glusica was said in the aftermath of the tragedy to have had 10,000 hours of flying time, including experience of Mangalore’s airport.

The civil aviation minister noted at the time that Mangalore had a short runway and a limited area after that to accommodate planes that overshot the landing strip.

The plane missed its landing threshold by about 2,000 feet (600 metres).


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