Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Aeroméxico dismisses pilots of flight that crashed in Durango

Three pilots on board an Aeroméxico flight that crashed shortly after take-off from Guadalupe Victoria airport in Durango on July 31 have been dismissed.

The Mexico City-bound Embraer 190 aircraft with 99 passengers and four crew on board smashed into scrubland near the runway during bad weather that included heavy rain, hail and strong winds.

The plane was severely damaged and burst into flames but all 103 people on board survived, although most were injured.

The plane’s captain and a two-year-old girl were hospitalized for a longer period, the former to undergo back surgery, the latter to be treated for burns.

Investigators said Wednesday that a sudden downdraft known as a microburst appeared to be responsible for bringing the plane down.

The two pilots, left and center, and the pilot in training.
The two pilots, left and center, and the pilot in training.

“No human or mechanical failures were detected,” said the investigative team overseen by the civil aviation division of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT).

It also said “there was no information that would have made the crew consider delaying takeoff.”

However, civil aviation director Luis Gerardo Fonseca confirmed a rumor that there were three pilots in the cockpit and that a trainee pilot “without authorization to operate” an aircraft was improperly seated in the co-pilot’s seat when the plane took off.

The plane’s captain had taken over controls from the trainee just before it crashed, he said.

In a letter to colleagues, Aeroméxico general director Andrés Conesa said that while evidence showed that poor weather was most likely to blame for the crash, the pilots had broken protocol and for that reason, they were dismissed.

“Irrespective of the evidence . . . pointing to weather-related factors, the conduct of the three pilots in the cockpit was not carried out in accordance with established protocols, deliberately violating the policies, manuals and procedures of our company,” he wrote.

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable and we are not going to allow, for any reason, the conduct of these people to put at risk the trust that more than 20 million customers around the world place in us . . .”

In the aftermath of the crash the plane’s captain, Carlos Galván Mayrán, was praised as a hero by many who said that his handling of the plane had saved the lives of the passengers and crew on board.

Now, just over a month later, Galván, first officer Daniel Dardon and the trainee pilot all find themselves out of a job.

But Fonseca, who said “today more than ever our number-one priority is and will continue to be the culture of safety, transparency and discipline,” was unrepentant.

“Nobody is above safety or our values, which are our guide so that conduct like this never happens again.”

Source: El Universal (sp), Infobae (sp)

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.

Sedena AICM

3 more Mexican airports to be operated by the military

The National Defense Ministry is also in charge of operations at the Felipe Ángeles airport, the Maya Train and the soon-to-be-opened Tulum airport.
Chapultepec tombs

Archaeologists reveal 3,500-year-old graves in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park

Construction work unveiled the ancient burial chambers in Mexico City's Chapultepec Park this summer, and archaeologists are uncovering their secrets.

A love story of tacos, beer and empanadas: Meet Bety and Ale 

Meet a Mexican-Argentine couple who decided to share a little piece of Argentina with the people of San Miguel.