Plane falls as co-pilot “fiddles with controls”

Pilots get emergency call from air traffic controller

A plane carrying 280 passengers plunged 5,000 feet after the co-pilot “fiddled with the controls” while the captain was taking a nap, an investigation says. The incident occurred while the Jet Airways Boeing 777-300 was flying from India to Brussels. The pilots received an emergency call from an air traffic controller in Ankara as the incident unfolded.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has launched an investigation and is reviewing a report prepared by Boeing, which analysed flight recorder records. The co-pilot woke the pilot up when the air traffic controller told them to immediately ascend to 32,000ft.

“This appears to be a serious act of criminal negligence on part of the co-pilot,” a senior DGCA official told The Hindustan Times. “It wasn’t as if the plane went into a free fall and the pilots were unaware of it. The Boeing report clearly establishes that the co-pilot fiddled with the controls of the aircraft after which the plane dropped 5,000 feet.”

“Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways, as is also the welfare of our guests and crew, and the airline will always take appropriate steps to ensure the same,” the airline has said.

Daily Mail

[pictured: Jet Airways aircraft at London Heathrow]