There were at least two, possibly more opportunities to catch the problem before departure, but they were missed. The cowling latches are only about
2 feet above the ground on the bottom of the engine, where they're hard to see (not that it excuses them being missed).
So going by the picture in
this article, I'm going to have to go with the mechanics and flight crew both having their heads
shoved up their ass when it came to double checking the cowling. The picture in the article is a generic Airbus engine, with the cowling unlatched.
Anyone, even people with minimal aviation experience can tell that the cowling is unlatched, yet somehow mechanics working on the aircraft, and at
least one experienced pilot failed to notice that both engines had unlatched cowling.
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