The pilot of a Mozambican airplane that crashed in Namibia last month caused the accident on purpose, according to Mozambique aviation experts.
The Civil Aviation Institute said the pilot made a “deliberate series of maneuvers” that resulted in the crash. Mozambican Airlines flight TM470 left the capital of Maputo on Nov. 29 but crashed before it reached its intended destination, killing all 33 people on board.
The flight was scheduled to get to Angola, but never made it after the airliner went down in heavy rain in Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park.
Joawo Abreu, told a news conference that the pilot, Herminio dos Santos Fernandes had a “clear intention to crash.”
Dos Santos Fernandes locked himself in the cockpit and did not allow the co-pilot back inside until moments before the plane crashed, according to Abreu.
“During these actions you can hear low and high intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit,” he said.
Dos Santos Fernandes manually changed the plane’s altitude three times from 38,000 feet to 592 feet and manually changed its speed, according to investigations.
The pilot’s motives are unknown but the investigation is ongoing, the BBC reports.
The Boston Herald, however, reports that a source close to the pilot says he deliberately crashed the plane as an act of suicide.
The source, a colleague at the Mozambican Airlines who insisted on anonymity, said Dos Santos Fernandes had marital problems for about one and a half years and had been “very depressed” in the past two months.
The 33 people who died onboard included passengers from Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Brazil, France and China.
Sources: BBC, Boston Herald