The pilot of an Air India Express flight from Dubai to Mangalore in southern India has been blamed for the crash in May which killed 158 passengers, an official investigation has reportedly found.The investigation set up by the Indian government to probe the crash concluded that the Serbian pilot, Zlatko Glusica, was "disorientated" having been asleep for much of the three-hour flight, Hindustan Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the newspaper article was accurate, but said the report would be made public only after it was presented to the Indian parliament.Slow reactionTushar Srivastava, correspondent, Hindustan Times that broke the story said that the panel said Glusica reacted late and did not follow many standard operating procedures during the landing.He also added:"According to the report it was not a problem with the runaway as some reports had suggested earlier, but it was the pilot."There was no immediate comment on the report from the airline. Praful Patel, India's civil aviation minister, told reporters his ministry received the report Tuesday, noting that the government would study it before taking any action.
The Mangalore crash was the deadliest in India since the November 1996 mid-air collision between a Saudi airliner and a Kazakh cargo plane near New Delhi that killed 349 people.
The report will add to growing concern worldwide about the dangers posed by exhausted pilots working taxing schedules.