Pilot error could be to blame for the fatal crash of a Gulf Air flight in Bahrain, official television reported Thursday in the Abu Dhabi emirate, which is a part owner of the airline.
Noting that the pilot was making his third attempt to land at the end of a flight to Cairo Wednesday when his plane plunged into the sea, the television said the accident "is due to human error and not to technical malfunction."
"The pilot made an error during his first attempt to land, and one of its wings was perhaps damaged during the second attempt by hitting the water," the television said.
On the third attempt "It lost balance and plunged into the sea," the television concluded, citing "civil aviation experts."
No official explanation has yet been given for the Airbus A320's crash, which killed all 143 people aboard the flight.
Experts are set to arrive late Thursday to begin analyzing evidence in the crash, including the plane's two black boxes, which record the plane's maneuvers and pilots' conversations.
Bahraini airport authorities said they did not ask the Gulf Air pilot about his two failed attempts to land and said he did not issue any distress call.
Gulf Air, based in Manama, is owned in equal parts by the governments of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the Abu Dhabi emirate -- ABU DHABI (AFP)
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