Official: Mozambique Plane Crash Intentional

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  • MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Preliminary investigations into a November plane crash that killed 33 people aboard show that the pilot intentionally brought the Mozambican plane down, an aviation official said.

    The Mozambican Airlines plane was bound for Angola with six crewmembers and 27 passengers, including 10 Mozambican, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, and one citizen each from France, Brazil and China, according to the airline. The aircraft went down Nov. 29 in a Namibian national park near the border with Angola.

    “There was an intention to crash the plane,” Joao Abreu, chairman of the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute said Saturday after gathering recordings and preliminary investigations.

    The pilot’s motives are unknown, and investigations will continue, he said, naming the pilot as Herminio dos Santos Fernandes. The co-pilot was in the bathroom at the time, he said.

    Radar data showed that, at an obligatory reporting position over northern Botswana, the plane suddenly started to slow downwards rapidly. The plane’s movements were normal before that, with no mechanical functions, he said. The altitude selector was then manually altered three times, bringing the plane’s altitude down from 38,000 feet to 592 feet, Abreu said, reading the preliminary report to reporters.

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