Precedents of pilots downing their planes

Investigators believe the co-pilot of a German airliner deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps earlier this week, killing all 150 people aboard.

While rare, there have been previous such incidents in which a pilot or co-pilot have brought down an aircraft.


The black box voice recorder from the German Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget Airbus A320 crash. Photo: Reuters

- Mozambique Airlines -

November 29, 2013: Mozambique Airlines (LAM) flight TM 470 flying from Maputo to Luanda goes down in northeastern Namibia killing 33.

Investigators said the captain had a "clear intention" to crash the plane. They said flight recorders showed the Embraer 190 went down while Captain Herminio dos Santos Fernandes manipulated its autopilot in a way which "denotes a clear intention" to bring the plane down.

- EgyptAir -

October 31, 1999: EgyptAir flight 990, a Boeing 767 en route from New York to Cairo crashes into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after take off.

An analysis of the black boxes showed that the pilot caused the accident and declared shortly before the crash: "I have just taken my decision. I put my faith in God's hands".

the cockpit crew (L to R: Capt. Ahmed el-Habashy, Capt. Raouf Noureddin, Capt. Gameel El-Batouty and Capt. Adel Anwar) of Egyptair Flight 990 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after taking off from New York's Kennedy International Airport Oct. 31, 1999, killing all 217 people aboard. Photo: Getty

- SilkAir -

December 19, 1997: A Singaporean SilkAir Boeing 737 plunges into a river in Indonesia on route from Jakarta to Singapore. All 104 passengers and crew aboard were killed. US investigators say the captain probably crashed the plane on purpose.

Media reported that the captain, who had recently been disciplined and demoted, and who was in debt, had disconnected the black boxes to cover up his act.

An investigation by Singaporean authorities was inconclusive.

- Royal Air Maroc -

August 21, 1994: The pilot of a Royal Air Maroc jet crashes the plane into the Atlas mountains shortly after taking off from Agadir for Casablanca. All 44 aboard are killed. The probe, based on the last words of the co-pilot, quickly concluded it was suicide.

- Japan Airlines -

February 9, 1982: A Japan Airlines DC-8 crashes into Tokyo Bay on approach to Haneda Airport. Twenty four people are killed.

A probe concluded that the pilot, who survived, was mentally unstable.

A man walks past graffiti depicting the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on the one year anniversary of its disappearance in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Reuters

Pilot suicide is also among the various hypotheses considered in last year's disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people aboard. The communications system was deliberately deactivated and the flight changed course.


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