If I were a pilot landing a plane after the engines had conked out on me, I might pray. That doesn’t mean I’d take my hands off the controls and stop doing my part to aim for a safe landing, but perhaps there would be words beseeching a power bigger than myself for a dose of divine intervention. It couldn’t hurt. Right?
For the Tunisian pilot I read about in the guardian.co.uk, uttering a prayer out loud got him in hot water when his case went to court. Back in 2005, he crash-landed a Franco-Italian ATR 72 charter plane into the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily after the engine stopped working because the wrong fuel gauge had been mistakenly installed by a mechanic. The fuel gauge was too small, thus the plane didn’t have enough fuel. As a piece of information to keep in mind, the smaller gauge looked the same as the larger gauge.
At the time of the crash, the pilot was considered a hero since everyone on board didn’t die. Twenty-three people survived. After the investigation and trial, the tides have turned. The Italian court has decided that the pilot should have tried to glide the plane to Palermo. The court thinks that if he had done this, the 16 who died would not have. His prayers meant that he stopped doing his job correctly.
I guess these people didn’t hear about the US Airways plane crash landing on the Hudson River after the pilot was told to try to make it to an airport. What’s intriguing about this latest case is that the Tunisian pilot is Muslim. Calling out to Allah doesn’t seem to translate all that well in Italian court.
The co-pilot, mechanic and other airline executives are also going to jail. The charges include manslaughter.