Yak-42 crew ignorance 'led to worst air tragedy'
22 December 2005, MADRID — The saga of Spain's worst peacetime air accident took another turn after a report concluded the inexperience of the crew caused a crash in which 62 Spanish soldiers died.
22 December 2005
MADRID — The saga of Spain's worst peacetime air accident took another turn after a report concluded the inexperience of the crew caused a crash in which 62 Spanish soldiers died.
The soldiers and the 12 Ukrainian crew of a Yakolev-42 aircraft were killed when the plane came down in May 2003 in Turkey.
The Spanish defence ministry in Madrid had leased the aircraft to bring the soldiers home from peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan.
Defence miister Jose Bono told the Spanish parliament a new Turkish report on the tragedy concluded crew inexperience was to blame for the crash.
Their lack of knowledge of the area surrounding the airport at which the plane attempted to land and the pilot's poor use of controls also led to the accident.
Bono also blamed the former Popular Party government for not listening to calls from the military for improvements in its transport abroad.
At least 22 of the 62 Spanish soldiers killed in the accident were misidentified, according to DNA tests of the victims' relatives released last year, which showed that only 17 of the initial identifications were correct.
In testimony to parliament in 2004, Bono said that a "measly saving" of less than EUR 6,000 inspired the switch to a Yakovlev-42 from the Tupolev that was initially scheduled to transport the 62 Spanish soldiers home from Afghanistan.
A report found the Yak-42 had two serious defects - the cabin's intercom system and fuel censor had been malfunctioning for a month - and the crew had been on duty for more than 23 hours at the time of the flight.
Former defence minister Federico Trillo, who was in charge at the time of the crash, was reprimanded by the Spanish parliament for negligence in connection with the accident.
Trillo said in his own defence that an administration could not be blamed for the soldiers' deaths.
The relatives of the dead have called for the ex-minister to renounce his parliamentary seat and the government
salary that comes with it.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news