The first results of the Tu-154 black box decoding have been released: the crew of the Russian jet received an order to reduce its altitude from a Swiss flight control officer only 50 seconds before the wreck. The Tu-154 pilots performed the command only 25 seconds before slamming into the Boeing-757.
The Swiss flight control service acknowledged this fact a bit earlier, although they originally blamed the Tu-154 crew for the crash, having claimed that the Russian pilots were incompetent (they did not speak English, they did not react to flight control officers’ warnings to reduce altitude, etc). Now, it has been officially documented that the Tu-154 crew did not have enough time to change the trajectory of the flight. The command was given too late.
However, there is one thing left unclear thing: when the Boeing-757 started descending automatically (the air collision prevention system was activated), why did they want the Tu-154 to do the same? The Russian jetliner should have increased its altitude: the security system should have given an automatic command for that. One may assume that the pilots hesitated at first, but then listened to the flight control officers. The most important question at the moment, as the RBC mentioned, is to find out what the Swiss flight officers were doing ten or fifteen minutes before the collision, when they took both of the planes under their control. They should have seen them approaching each other.
The administration of the company Bashkiria Airlines (the Tu-154 was owned by this company) plans to sue the flight control officers. However, judging by the first and the following reactions from representatives of the German and Swiss sides, they will manage to get away with this terrible accident.
The total number of the people who died in the crash made up 71 people; 69 of them were the passengers and crew members of the Russian Tu-154 jet. The RTR Russian television network reported with reference to NBC, that the Swiss flight control officer who was giving orders to the Tu-154 and Boeing-757 was given medical aid due to the emotional shock yesterday. The officer will be interrogated either today or tomorrow. The main thing that the Swiss authorities want to find out is why it took the flight officer so long before ordering the Russian plane to go down.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov