Pilot 'Deliberately' Crashed Plane, Killing 33

Mozambican Airlines pilot locked door, took plane down
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2013 1:03 PM CST
This Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 file photo shows the wreckage of a Mozambique Airlines plane that crashed Nov. 29 in the Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, killing all 33 on board.   (AP Photo/NAMPA, Olavi Haikera, FILE)
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(Newser) – A Mozambican Airlines plane that went down in Namibia last month, killing all 33 aboard, was no accident according to preliminary investigations. With the co-pilot in the bathroom, pilot Hermino dos Santos Fernandes locked the cockpit door, reports the AP, then "made a deliberate series of maneuvers" that systematically lowered the plane's altitude three times—bringing it from 38,000 feet all the way to 592 feet. Dos Santos Fernandes had a "clear intention" to crash the plane, Civil Aviation Institute chief Joao Abreu said yesterday, per the BBC.

"During these actions you can hear low and high-intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit," Abreu said. "The reasons which may have given rise to this behavior are unknown." (Read more Hermino dos Santos Fernandes stories.)

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