Rundu — The pilots who flew the Embraer 190 that crashed in the Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi Region last Friday were fit to fly according to a statement issued by LAM Mozambique Airlines on Sunday.
LAM said both pilots had their recent flight medicals checked in September and they both held valid airline transport pilots licenses. "The Captain had logged 9 053 flight-hours. Of these, 1 395 hours were in command of an aircraft and 2 520 hours flying the Embraer 190. He received his command on 12 April 2012. His most recent flight medical check was on 02 September 2013," stated LAM. "The First Officer had logged 1 418 flight hours. Of these, 108 hours were on the Embraer 190. His most recent proficiency check was on 08 September 2013. His most recent flight medical check was on 28 September 2013," stated LAM.
Although the cause of the accident is still unknown, LAM requests the public to give investigators the time and space to do their work without interference or prejudice. "LAM may not comment on the investigators' work. Similarly, we cannot engage in speculation on likely or possible causes as this would be unhelpful and could be seen as an attempt to unfairly influence or pre-empt the investigation," the airline said. The 27 passengers were citizens of Mozambique (10), Angola (9), Portugal (5), France (1), People's Republic of China (1) and Brazil (1), while the six-crew members comprised of a captain, first officer, chief cabin attendant two cabin attendants and a technician. "The Namibian and our recovery teams have begun to search for and recover the victims' remains and their personal effects. This is necessary to positively identify the deceased. Identification is done using the best international practices and standards and is necessary so that their remains can be repatriated and funerals arranged," LAM stated in the media release issued over the weekend. LAM further says the aircraft and engines underwent their last prescribed check on 28 November 2013. This is a routine maintenance inspection carried out every 14 days or every 120 flight-hours (whichever comes first). In accordance with international aviation law, Namibia, as the country where the accident occurred, will lead the investigation. Civil aviation authorities from Mozambique, Angola, Brazil and the National Transportation Safety Board in the US will also participate in the investigation. The 93-seat plane crashed in the Bwabwata National Park on Friday afternoon while flying from Mozambique to Angola with 33 passengers onboard. The Namibian police removed the severely mangled bodies from the scene of the accident and transported them to the Rundu State Hospital mortuary from where they were airlifted to Windhoek on Sunday. The burned plane wreckage was only discovered on Saturday morning.