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Multiple causes led to fatal plane crash

Both the pilot and the aircraft are to blame for the fatal jetliner crash that took place in California last summer, according to recent reports. The airline operating the jet at the time of the crash released a statement saying that their pilots did have an opportunity to abort the dangerously slow approach to the runway that caused the plane to crash into the seawall, but that equipment on board the plane should have intervened or functioned differently to prevent the situation in the first place.

A spokesperson from the airline said that while the pilots were certainly in a position of control and could have avoided the crash, one of the causes of the accident was the autopilot feature on the plane, which the pilot did not realize had fully turned off at the time that the plane slowed to a dangerous speed. Specifically, the pilot had idled the autopilot feature when he had corrected the position of the plane earlier in the landing process and did not realize that the system did not turn back on to control the speed of the plane.

Officials in the United States and in Europe have previously warned Boeing about this technical issue and its possible implications for aviation safety. However, the aerospace company has not yet taken any action to modify this feature. Airline officials say this speaks to a design flaw that was a major factor in the crash.

This case speaks to the issues that arise when more than one party’s negligence caused the injuries to the victims. In this case the negligence of the pilots, the airline, and the airplane manufacturer have all been suggested as contributing factors, and without any one of those factors the crash might not have occurred.

Source: ABC News, “Asiana: Jet Partly to Blame in California Crash,” Sudhin Thanawala and Justin Pricard, March 31, 2014. 

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