Pilot blamed in 2007 Kenya Airways crash

An investigative report released Wednesday blames pilot error for the 2007 crash in Cameroon of a Kenya Airways flight.

An investigative report released Wednesday blames pilot error for the 2007 crash in Cameroon of a Kenya Airways flight.

All 114 people on board died in the disaster.

The pilot of Kenya Airways Flight 507 didn't notice the plane was banking right and when he did, he turned farther right, triggering a downward spiral, the report found.

The crash of the Boeing 737-800 on May 5, 2007, occurred during a thunderstorm less than two minutes after takeoff in Douala, in west Cameroon. But the report said weather did not likely cause the crash. Instead it blamed "spatial disorientation" by the pilot.

The report was posted early Wednesday on the website of the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority. Some of the investigation was conducted by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing experts in the United States.

Executives with Kenya Airways were expected to comment on the report later Wednesday.

The report said the pilot didn't adhere to standard operating procedures, had poor situational awareness and "reacted inappropriately in the face of an abnormal situation."

No instrument scanning was done by the crew during the initial roll, and because it was night, the pilot had no visual references to correct the situation, the report said.

'We are crashing'

On the plane’s cockpit recorder, about 90 seconds into the flight when the pilot notices the rightward drift, he says, "We are crashing." Seconds later a young first officer mistakenly tells the pilot to turn right, before correcting himself and saying "left, left, left."

The plane crashed nine seconds later, a minute and 42 seconds into the flight.

The 114 people on board came from 26 countries, including an American AIDS expert who worked at Harvard University; businesspeople from China, India and South Africa; Cameroonian merchants; a UN refugee worker from Togo and Briton Anthony Mitchell, a Nairobi-based correspondent for The Associated Press.

The crash investigation has been long and difficult. The plane went down in a mangrove swamp less than 6.5 kilometres from the runway, but it took officials 40 hours to find the wreckage. It took officials weeks to identify remains and there was a further delay before Cameroonian authorities released them to next of kin.