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Oh Captain! My Captain!

Preliminary Findings Blame Pilots for April Crash of Lion Air Flight in Bali

(5/25/2013) The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report surrounding the April 13, 2013, crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 on final approach to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The preliminary conclusion of investigators laid the blame for the crash at errors made by the pilot and co-pilot who failed to follow standard instrument approach procedures.

The plane hit the water just meters short of the runway apron for Runway 9 while the pilots were attempting a non-precision instrument approach. No deaths were recorded among the 108 passengers and crew on board the airplane, but 9 passengers sustained serious injuries.

The weather at the time of the crash saw rain moving through the area but visibility still good. The almost new aircraft had no maintenance issues that would have affected its ability to fly.

The co-pilot on the flight had 1,200 hours of logged flight time while the captain-in-command had 15,000 hours of experience.

Analysis of flight data shows that 2.5 minutes prior to the crash the plane was flying at 1,600 feet heading for Runway 9 with winds of 6 knots from 120 degrees. 30 seconds later, one minute before impact, the co-pilot said he could no longer see the airport and 30 seconds later ground proximity warnings began sounding in the cockpit as the aircraft passed 550 feet above ground level.

Unable to see the runway, the co-pilot disengaged the autopilot. Only 9 seconds before impact did the Captain tookhe wheel. The Captain was heard ordering a “go round” missed approach one second before the plane hit the water.

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