Crash pilot who paused to pray is convicted

PALERMO Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:39pm EDT

1 of 4. An aerial view of the fuselage and wings of the Tunisian plane that crashed in the sea near the Sicilian city of Palermo, August 6, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Guardia di Finanza/Handout

Related Topics

PALERMO (Reuters) - A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.

The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact.

A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors also said the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport.

Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair, were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the court, in a verdict handed down Monday.

The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.

(Writing by Phil Stewart)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.