Cyprus Mail

Fatal crash pilot resigned over exhausting hours: report

fatal crash
People commemorate victims of crashed Boeing 737-800 Flight FZ981 in Rostov-On-Don

The Cypriot pilot of the Flydubai passenger plane which crashed on a flight from Dubai to Russia on Saturday, killing 62 people, had resigned because of the unbearable schedule, a Russian media outlet reported on Wednesday.

Aristos Sokratous, 37, from Limassol used to work for the defunct Helios Airways, the airline which shut down after its 737 Boeing crashed en route from Larnaca to Athens killing 121 people in August 2005.

This was reportedly one of the last flights Sokratous was going to be flying for the airline as he had been hired by Ryanair and was going to return to the island within the next few weeks or even days.

Quoting an anonymous former captain, RT said the company’s pilots were overworked and forced to fly while exhausted.

The whistleblower said sleep deprivation was probably a contributing factor to the FZ981 crash in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, which killed everyone on board.

“(Co-pilot Alejandro Álava Cruz), was working eleven days in a row with the exception of one day off, which was Tuesday, March 15th,” the pilot said. “There’s is no doubt he was fatigued and exhausted for this flight … that definitely was a contributing factor, no matter how (Flydubai) may try to deny it,” RT quoted the pilot as saying.

According to RT, Socratous, had resigned because of the unbearable schedule.

“The reason that the captain was resigning is because of the schedules, he just couldn’t do it anymore. He was too tired, going to work fatigued, and that is actually why he had resigned.”

Citing an internal survey, the former pilot said most of his colleagues foresaw the possibility of a crash due to exhaustion.

“Over 80 per cent of the pilots that participated… said yes, there will be a crash at Flydubai. And it’s unbelievable, I mean they knew this was coming, they absolutely knew it and of course they will blame it on the pilots.”



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