Crew Error Suspected In Air India Crash

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The flight crew of an Air India 737 that crashed in southern India last month, killing 158 people, failed to abort a sub-standard approach and then reacted with confusion and hesitation after they touched down and tried to take off again, according to a report in Monday's Wall Street Journal. The airplane ran off the end of the runway, plummeted down a cliff, broke apart and caught fire. Eight people survived. Safety experts from the U.S. and elsewhere have been critical of India's pilot training and operating standards for years, the Journal says. Airlines and regulators are now facing widespread criticism and have indicated that changes are forthcoming soon. An official report on the accident is due next week.

Bill Voss, CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, told the Journal the dramatic growth of aviation in India has created an influx of pilots from various countries, resulting in challenges in communication among crews due to language and cultural differences. The captain of the accident airplane was a British citizen and the first officer was an Indian national.