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March 25, 2009

Pilots in 16-death crash jailed for praying instead of flying

Pilots in 16-death crash jailed for praying instead of flying

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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The pilot and co-pilot of Tuninter Flight 1153, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in 2005, killing sixteen people, have each received ten-year jail sentences for the ditching of the flight. They were found to have prayed instead of trying to direct the plane to safety when the engines failed. Tuninter Flight 1153, from Bari, Italy, to Djerba, Tunisia, crashed into Italian waters on August 6, 2005.

A Tuninter ATR 72 similar to the one that crashed.
Image: Roberto Benetti.

The flight ran into trouble because the ATR 72 twin-engined turboprop had mistakenly been fitted with the fuel gauge for an ATR 42, which has a lower fuel capacity. The incorrect reading on the gauge was relied upon, and led to the aircraft suffering fuel starvation and eventually running out of fuel. The right engine failed at 23,000 feet, and the left at 7,000 feet.

Captain Shafik Al Gharbi and co-pilot Ali Kebaier Lassoued were described as having panicked and started praying aloud, rather than following emergency procedures to bring the plane safely to a runway. After gliding for sixteen minutes, the pilots decided to attempt a crash-landing in the Mediterranean, and the aircraft crashed into the sea about 23 nautical miles to the Northwest of Palermo.

The court in Palermo also sentenced five other employees of Tuninter to sentences of between eight and nine years’ imprisonment. None of the accused were in court to hear the verdict, and none will serve time in jail before the appeals process is completed.



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Tuninter Flight 1153
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September 7, 2005

Tunisian ATR-72 plane crash on 6 August caused by incorrect fuel gauge

Tunisian ATR-72 plane crash on 6 August caused by incorrect fuel gauge

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Investigation of the crash into sea of a Tunisian airplane ATR-72 near Sicily on August 6, 2005 has arrived at an astonishing conclusion. The wrong type of fuel gauge was installed in the aircraft. The gauge was designed for another type of aircraft, the much smaller ATR-42.

The ATR-72, a 74-passenger plane.

The level indicated by the gauge was wrong, causing the pilot to think that the plane needed less fuel that it did. Then, when fueling at the airport, less fuel than was needed was loaded in the airport of Bari. While in flight the airplane ran out of fuel, although the gauge still showed fuel available.

After this conclusion by the Italian National Security Flight Agency (ANSV) the Italian National Agency for Civil Aviation (ENAC) has suspended Tunisian airline Tuninter’s authorization to operate commercial flights in Italy. A warning was also send to European Authority about what has happened asking that all fuel gauges installed on ATR-42 amd ATR-72 be checked.

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NOTAM: attention Roman Catholic Italian AP Mechanics: CROSSED SEVENs (-7-) Look very similar to number Fours (4) as in ATR-72 vs. ATR-42.


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August 29, 2005

Wreck of August 6 airliner crash recovered from sea off Italy

Wreck of August 6 airliner crash recovered from sea off Italy

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Monday, August 29, 2005

The wreck of the plane ATR72 that fell into the sea near Sicily, Italy on August 6 has been recovered. One of the two black boxes that contained the communication recording, and the complete set of instruments and commands in the cockpit, was recovered.

One of the three people who were still missing from the accident was found, while there is yet no sign of the other two persons. The identity of the recovered corpse is not yet known (and the identification is expected to be difficult).

A survey published today by the Italian association Intesaconsumatori (Union of Consumers) said that 61% of Italians are afraid to fly, while 41% of population feels less safe about plane safety than they did one month earlier. According to the survey, 20% would be ready to get off the plane, or refuse to get in the plane, if they found that the airline is different from the one they were told when they bought the ticket.

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August 6, 2005

Plane ditches into sea near Sicily

Plane ditches into sea near Sicily – Wikinews, the free news source

Plane ditches into sea near Sicily

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Saturday, August 6, 2005

file photo of an ATR-72

A plane crash 13 km from Palermo and 12 miles North East of Capo Gallo off the Sicilian coast killed at least 14 people.

A Tuninter flight was carrying 39 people (34 passengers and 5 crew members) when it went down near Sicily.

A magistrate of Palermo said there were 20 survivors.

The Tunisian ATR-72 airliner had taken off from Bari and is believed to have developed a technical fault. All the passengers are reportedly Italian.

Ten passengers have reached land in Palermo, a city on the southern Italian island of Sicily. “It’s a miracle we’re alive,” a survivor said, according to Ansa.

The plane went into the sea after the captain asked for an emergency landing at Palermo Punta Raisi airport. When the captain realized he could not reach the airport, he was forced to crash-land the plane at sea. The captain Chafik Garbis told Ansa, “The engines have lost power and I have had to try to ditch.”

Palermo, Sicily location

Most of the survivors have been injured, and the majority have signs of serious burns. The casualties from the crash were worsened due to a fire spreading out before, or just after, the plane ditched.

The wreck of the airplane was found broken in three parts.

The number of the fatalities is not yet clearly known. A member of the Italian aviation reported to the Italian Radio Rai while coming back to land from the area of the crash that some people are not yet found.

The Italian ANSV (Agenzia nazionale sicurezza al volo, or National Agency for Flight Safety) opened an investigation into the crash. It will also involve France (where the ATR planes were built) and Tunisia.

The Pubblico Ministero of Palermo (the judge who is in charge of investigation) said to the Italian television Rai, “Luckly, and this is the most important thing, we can exclude that it is due to a terrorism attack.” He then added that the investigation has not yet formally started so he needs more time to be sure.

Sources

Sources in Italian

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