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Tunisian ATR-72 crew that ditched sentenced to jail in Italy

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posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 08:13 AM
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Ok, this is going a little too far. In August 2005 a Tuninter ATR-72 flying from Bari to Djerba lost both engines due to fuel starvation, after an improper fuel load was put on the aircraft. The fuel gauge was replaced with one from an ATR-42, instead of a -72. It read almost 4000 pounds high. The aircraft landed in Bari with 672 pounds of fuel, but read just over 5000 pounds, so a fuel load of just 584 pounds was loaded. There SHOULD have been a low fuel warning when the aircraft landed in Bari, but the warning relied on the fuel gauge to activate the warning.

During the flight, the aircraft ran out of fuel and ditched near some ships, killing 16 of the 35 passengers and crew. Both pilots survived.

Today Italian courts sentenced both pilots to 10 years in prison, and 6 others to between 6 and 10 years in prison. The courts said that the pilots paused to pray out loud instead of performing their checklists or trying to reach the nearest airport. At the time of the crash they were EIGHTEEN MILES off the Italian coast, and both engines had stopped functioning. The right engine stopped first, followed thereafter by the left.

The aircraft was at 23,000 feet when the right engine failed, the left at 7,000 feet. The aircraft glided 16 minutes before impact. The crew made the decision to ditch near some ships that were in the area.

If you read the transcripts, you will see that the pilots WERE performing their checklists, at times saying things to the effect of "God help us" while they were working to save the aircraft. What pilot WOULDN'T be praying for help while they were gliding towards the ocean. None of the accused were even in court for the proceedings.


ichihi.blogspot.com...
www.flightglobal.com...
www.flightglobal.com...


[edit on 3/25/2009 by Zaphod58]




posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:43 AM
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Sigh. Forget the fact that anyone survived the fact that pilots are still get charged for a error that was maitence related just highlights the issue in letting judges give out punishments in cases like this.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 02:09 PM
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It is a pity the Italian courts could not get a hold of the ex-bosses of:

Citibank
Morgan Stanley
RBS
AIG
HSBC
HBOS
Barclays

to name a few....



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 02:21 PM
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Didn't the flight crew find it odd they had apparently used so little fuel?

Any way the article does say they are not sure of the likelihood of them actually serving the sentence, none of the accused were in court. So unless the Italians can put out an international arrest warrant (not sure how easy that is to do) then all they have to do is never go to Italy or any of her dominions.

It's not great - their names are now mud, but it's possible they won't have to serve the time.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by Now_Then

Any way the article does say they are not sure of the likelihood of them actually serving the sentence, none of the accused were in court. So unless the Italians can put out an international arrest warrant (not sure how easy that is to do) then all they have to do is never go to Italy or any of her dominions.


Or travel to any country that has an extradition agreement with Italy....



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by Now_Then
Didn't the flight crew find it odd they had apparently used so little fuel?


The only way that the crew knew how much fuel they used was the fuel gauge. According to that, they had plenty of fuel left. It was always reading 4000 pounds high or so.

Regardless of whether they serve time or not, a study has shown that incidents like this REDUCE aircraft safety. If someone is so worried that they'll be prosecuted for making mistakes, then they're more likely to make that mistake, and it could be deadly.

[edit on 3/25/2009 by Zaphod58]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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Something about this doesn't make any sense. I use to work as a linemen at an airport and part of my job was to fuel the airlines.

Now when you fuel a commercial airplane you are given a fuel slip stating how many total pounds they want to be brought up to. So if they have 6000 pounds and they want to be at 10,000 then we add 4000. They never tell us how many pounds they want.

At the fuel point there is a gauge, on an ATR you set the total pounds for each engine, 10,000 pounds total for both engines would be 5000 a piece. Once that is set then the guy fueling starts the fueling process and once the required pounds as been met the fuel tanks shut off automatically.

The sensors inside the tanks would have to be malfunctioning for the right fuel load not being reached.

I'm going to think on this some more, but what they are saying what happened doesn't sound right.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 03:02 PM
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reply to post by jd140
 


Except that with the gauges reading high, the crew would tell the line guys they only needed let's say 3000 pounds, when in reality they needed 7000 pounds. The line guy would put in the requested 3000 pounds, and they would still be short the other 4000 pounds, that the gauge was off.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 09:53 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Makes sense, only they dont request a pounds to be put on.

They request to be brought up to a certain pound.

Even if their gauges read 7000 and they only have 3000, they would know that the miles, weight and weather conditions would require them to have 10000 pounds. They may see that they would need 3000. But when the request is put in, they only ask to be brought up to 10000 pounds. Not for 3000 pounds.

The lineman would see that and toggle in 5000 for each side. Once the sensors inside the tanks hit 5000 they shut off automatically.

I still think something else went on, it doesn't make sense.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:07 PM
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reply to post by jd140
 


The crew would have requested to be brought up to whatever they thought they needed based on what the fuel gauge said. When we fueled, and when I was working on the ramp, the fuelers always went by the indicator on the truck. We always knew how much was already on the aircraft, and how much we needed to put on. The crew always told us what they were at before fueling.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:11 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


You talking commercial or military?

2nd line



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:13 PM
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reply to post by jd140
 


I worked mostly military, but I was on the ramp with Eva Air playing plane guard when they were servicing and saw them do it the same way we did in the military.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:15 PM
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reply to post by jd140
 


OK, you say you use to work as a lineman fueling planes so answer this. A Tuninter ATR-72 flying from Bari to Djerba how far it that? And it take only about 90 gallons of fuel to refill? Now that should have made the ground crew ask questions I think. It probably takes take much fuel just to fill the hose from that plane to the refueling truck. Too many odd things about this. What do you think?

[edit on 3/25/2009 by fixer1967]



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Servicing is one thing, they need a specific amount to either check for leaks or to run the engines to check diagnostics.

On the actual ramp while passengers are actually loading and unloading it doesn't work like that. The crew that meets the plane at the gate gives the lineman a fuel slip asking to be brought up to a certain weight.

I rarely interacted with the pilots.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 10:31 PM
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reply to post by fixer1967
 


I'm still thinking about it. The pilots gauge shouldn't have affected how many pounds they wanted to be brought up to. Unless the sensors in the tanks were malfunctioning. But if that was the case they would have said that.



posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 05:17 PM
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I have just watched an episode of "Air Crash Investigation", on National Geographic (UK), on this very incident.
In the programme, it stated that the pilots did not get, or request, the fuel slip from the refillers that they would have had to have received to confirm the quantity of fuel loaded.
Also, the programme said that, if the pilots had feathered their propellers and reduced speed, they could have feasibly glided to safety.
It was concluded from the investigation that there should be extra training of flight crews in dealing with this type of situation, also tightening up on fuel fill procedures and maintenance.
Roy.



posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 05:24 PM
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reply to post by royspeed
 


The propellors actually auto-feathered. The center section of the aircraft was found, and both propellers were feathered.

The crew made the decision to ditch after they saw several ships in the area, instead of trying to ditch closer to shore where there might not have been anyone to help.

I don't exonerate the crew in this, but prosecuting crews and controllers after accidents is going down a very bad road. It's been proven that fear of prosecution causes more accidents in the long run.



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