Red Sea crash 'was human error': French press report

3rd March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - The crash of an airliner in the Red Sea in January was caused by human error, the flight crew wrongly believing they had engaged the automatic pilot, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - The crash of an airliner in the Red Sea in January was caused by human error, the flight crew wrongly believing they had engaged the automatic pilot, a French newspaper reported Wednesday.

"The crew thought it had switched on the automatic pilot, but in fact it never started operating. And the pilots probably never identified the fault," Le Figaro reported, quoting evidence from the Boeing 737's black boxes.

The jet belonging to the Egyptian Flash Airlines went down shortly after take-off from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on January 3, killing 148 people, mainly French torurists.

France's Accident Investigations Bureau refused to comment on the newspaper report, pointing out that the official enquiry in Egypt had yet to be concluded.

"Right up to the end the two pilots thought they could get the situation back under control. There were no cries of despair or even surprise in the cockpit. Just before the plane hit the water they tried a last-ditch manoeuvre but the aircraft was too low," the paper said.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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