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Officials deny Red Sea crash ‘human error’ report

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 Tuesday.

“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, citing 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 tourists.

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.

However Shaker Qelada, who is leading the Egyptian investigation, dismissed the report saying, “It is pure speculation. We are working hard to get a result as fast as we can.”

French Transport Minister Gilles de Robien also said that “there is no objective element that allows anyone to write what I have read today. The comments are not accurate.”


                               Subject: France news