Pilot jailed for Sicily air crash

Rez O. Lewshun

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Pilot jailed for Sicily air crash





An Italian court has jailed a Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before ditching his plane, killing 16 people.


A fuel gauge fault was partly to blame for the crash off Sicily in 2005 but judges convicted Chafik Garbi of manslaughter, jailing him for 10 years.
Six others, including the co-pilot and head of the airline Tuninter, were jailed for between eight and 10 years.
The accused will not spend time in jail until the appeals process is completed.
''This was an unprecedented sentence but we have always maintained that it was an unprecedented incident,'' Niky Persico, a lawyer for one of the victims, told Italy's Ansa news agency.
''Never before in the history of aviation disasters has there been such a chain of events and counter-events.''

Fuel gauge
The twin-engined Tuninter ATR-72 turboprop aeroplane was flying from the Italian city of Bari to the Tunisian island of Djerba on 6 August 2005, when it ran out of fuel and came down in the sea some 13km (eight miles) off the northern coast of Sicily.


Out of the total of 34 passengers and five crew on board, 23 survived. Many had to swim for their lives, while others clung on to floating pieces of the fuselage.


The Italian National Air Safety Board (ANSV) found in 2007 that the plane had run out of fuel because it had failed to take on enough before leaving Bari.
It said this was the result of a faulty fuel gauge, which had been installed the previous day by the maintenance arm of Tunisair, owner of Tuninter.
Ground crew had installed a fuel gauge designed for the ATR-42, which is similar to the ATR-72 but has smaller fuel tanks, the ANSV found. The same conclusions were reached by the manufacturer. Prosecutors say that after both the plane's engines cut out, the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land in the Mediterranean instead of trying to reach the nearest airport.
 

CopilotDoug

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An Italian court has jailed a Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures ...
And all they're doing is putting him in jail?!? Wow...he's lucky I didn't preside over his hearing!
 
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Worked for him.

Lol!


At least the Italians have the balls to toss him in jail. I wouldn't be surprised if some angry little jerk decides to "martyr" himself soon in an Italian city.
 

SFR

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They should lock up the Comair FO from the Lexington crash in 2006.
 

Erlanger

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An Italian court has jailed a Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before ditching his plane, killing 16 people.
That's not bad for a pilot that panicked and prayed instead of keeping it together and following emergency procedures. The outcome could of been the same either way. Not everyone could of pulled a "Sully".
 

Max Powers

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I hate to break this to you, but he never paused to pray.......The company and the national authorities are looking for a scapegoat.
 

Oakum_Boy

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It's italy what'd you expect. Now, i like the place and all, but...
 

gutshotdraw

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Very good article in last month's Business/Commercial Aviation about the criminalization of aviation accidents. It is actually fairly common overseas and the article recounts about a dozen incidents where pilots or controllers have been arrested, charged, and imprisoned for accidents in which there was no willful negligence.

Obviously, the GOL airlines crash in Brazil is covered in great depth and it is clear systemic ATC failures in Brazil were responsible, not the crews of either aircraft. And yet, authorities continue their efforts to jail the crew of the US registered Legacy as well as several Brazilian controllers. There is also a case of the retired Chief Designer of the A-320 being criminally charged, along with several other Airbus and airline executives in the wake of a eastern European crash of a 320.

It is a very troubling trend and no matter what you might think of the Sicily event, don't allow a religious angle, even if true, make you think pilots, controllers, mechanics, or manufacturers should go to jail for accidents.

They're called "accidents.' Not "on purposes."
 

Erlanger

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Very good article in last month's Business/Commercial Aviation about the criminalization of aviation accidents. It is actually fairly common overseas and the article recounts about a dozen incidents where pilots or controllers have been arrested, charged, and imprisoned for accidents in which there was no willful negligence.

Obviously, the GOL airlines crash in Brazil is covered in great depth and it is clear systemic ATC failures in Brazil were responsible, not the crews of either aircraft. And yet, authorities continue their efforts to jail the crew of the US registered Legacy as well as several Brazilian controllers. There is also a case of the retired Chief Designer of the A-320 being criminally charged, along with several other Airbus and airline executives in the wake of a eastern European crash of a 320.

It is a very troubling trend and no matter what you might think of the Sicily event, don't allow a religious angle, even if true, make you think pilots, controllers, mechanics, or manufacturers should go to jail for accidents.

They're called "accidents.' Not "on purposes."
That's why if you're involved in accident/incident and can walk away, it's probably best to get out of that country fast.
 

CatfishVT9

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I hate to break this to you, but he never paused to pray.......The company and the national authorities are looking for a scapegoat.
I wouldn't be so sure. Many years ago the Navy used to train the Saudis to fly jets. Prior to solo, every student had an "OCF" (Out of Control) flight where you did numerous departures and spins in the T-2 Buckeye. It was not uncommon for the Saudi students to throw up their hands and pray while the airplane spun instead of executing the recovery.:eek:
 

Colonel Savage

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I hate to break this to you, but he never paused to pray.......The company and the national authorities are looking for a scapegoat.
Agreed. So what do you think about authorities prosecuting pilots criminaly after accidents? What prevents it from happening here in the US?
 

ImbracableCrunk

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Seems to me like they were working and not praying. If I had an accident and I uttered, O God, or Godammit, are they gonna jail me, too?
 

Flybywire44

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You could hear praying at the end, but damn did they take forever doing the ditching check list. They did not get the Condition Levers to Feather/Fuel Shut Off until 1,100 feet?

Did they talk about flaps?
 

eaglesview

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Shoot if thay had been ALPA pilots everything would have been OK cause you know they would have come to the rescue. (for those that are confused it's called sarcasm)
 

livin'thesim

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Maybe he grabbed the yellow-tabbed prayerbook instead of the red-tabbed one?

Anyway, I keep a statue of St. Sullenberger on top of the panel by the Whiskey compass, so I have nothing to fear in any case.
 
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