As I’m sure just about everyone has heard by now, over the weekend an Airbus A321 belonging to Russian charter airline Metrojet crashed enroute from Egypt to Russia. All 224 people aboard were killed, which is beyond tragic.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to lose a loved one in a plane crash. And aside from the terrible loss, it has to suck to not immediately know the cause of what happened. You want closure, and that’s something that often doesn’t come quickly in the event of a plane crash. Heck, we still don’t know what happened to MH370, which disappeared over 18 months ago.
That’s why typically it doesn’t make sense to speculate about the cause of a plane crash. We don’t have access to the full facts, and it’s not fair to to the families involved to turn it into a game. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop the media or individuals from speculating.
When asked about the cause of a crash days after it happens, airline executives are usually smart enough to say something along the lines of “we don’t know the cause yet, and it doesn’t make sense to speculate; we’ll do everything we can to work with authorities to get to the bottom of this.”
Well, except Metrojet. They’re willing to say with certainty that there’s no way that a mechanical problem or pilot error are to blame.
Via The New York Times:
“We absolutely exclude the technical failure of the plane, and we absolutely exclude pilot error or a human factor,” Aleksandr A. Smirnov, a former pilot and the airline’s deputy director for aviation, told a packed news conference in Moscow.
Mr. Smirnov said that the crash could have been caused by “an external impact on the plane,” although he did not endorse the theory of a terrorist attack either, saying that the investigation would have to determine the cause.
As correctly pointed out by the vice chairman of the NTSB:
“I am surprised that an airline manager, at the point that we are at in this investigation, would make a statement like that,” said Robert T. Francis, a former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States.
“Without the flight recorders having been read, and without more investigation of the fuselage, which is spread all over the place, I don’t think you can rule out anything.”
While I realize no airline wants to take responsibility for an accident, it’s an extremely low blow for an airline executive to rule out the possibility of any mechanical or pilot fault when a couple of hundred people died. Especially since we’re still lacking the vital data, and the crash happened literally a couple of days ago.