Praying Pilot Gets 10 Years for Fatal Crash
16 died after Tunisian pilot failed to take emergency measures
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 1:37 AM CDT
Part of a Tunisian plane that crash-landed in the sea near Sicily in August 2005. The pilot has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the crash that killed 16 people.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A pilot who appealed to Allah instead of taking emergency measures has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a crash that killed 16 people, the Guardian reports. When the plane's engines stopped, the Tunisian pilot panicked, prayed and crash-landed in the sea when he should have tried to glide to a nearby airport, the Italian court was told.

The co-pilot was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter in the 2005 crash. Five other employees, including maintenance workers who installed the wrong fuel gauge, received terms of up to 9 years. The pilot's lawyer described her client as "a broken man" who was "convinced he did everything possible to save as many lives as possible."