Mozambican Airlines pilot deliberately crashed plane: investigators

A plane carry 34 people between Mozambique and Angola disappeared en route on Friday.

Investigators from Namibia's Transport Ministry have found signs that indicate the pilot of a Mozambican Airlines airliner that crashed in Namibia's Bwabwata National Park in November intended to bring the plane down.

All 33 people on board Mozambican Airlines flight TM470 heading for Angola died. In addition to the crew, 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, one French, one Brazilian and one Chinese passenger perished.

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Joao Abreu, the head of Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Institute, told reporters that the pilot, Hermino dos Santos Fernandes, made a "deliberate series of maneuvers” which caused the crash.

Dos Santos Fernandes locked himself in the cockpit, Abreu said. "During these actions you can hear low and high-intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit,” he said.

The plane was "flying in normal conditions and no mechanical deficiency was detected" when it suddenly began descending, Namibian investigators said in a preliminary report released this weekend. The plane’s automatic pilot was switched on and its altitude selector was set to below ground level.

The pilot's motives are unknown, but the investigation is continuing.