VICTIMS of the
Gerona air crash have spoken of their fears of a
whitewash as the official report into the terrifying
accident is released today - almost five years after
the near disaster.
It is feared Spanish
air accident investigators could produce a "bland"
report which does not answer key questions about
what caused flight BY226A to break into three on
landing at the Spanish airport in a heavy storm.
The 235 passengers
and crew aboard the Boeing 757 have waited five
years to discover what went wrong on what should
have been a routine holiday flight.
want to know why a warning light in the cockpit
was not acted upon minutes before the crash and
why they had to wait up to an hour for help in pitch
darkness and atrocious conditions after their Britannia
Airways plane crashed.
No one was killed
in the crash, but one man died in a Spanish hospital
a day later. Though passengers and crew sustained
modest physical injuries, most have suffered long-term
35, and her 13-year-old daughter Kirsty-Leigh, were
among the passengers aboard the flight from Cardiff
International Airport to Gerona on September 14,
The learning support
assistant from Ynysddu said, "I just want to
know what happened and why. We know we crashed but
we want to know why.
crashed they had results within two weeks because,
with no disrespect, all the people died. Because
we survived, we've been put on hold for the past
"I hope this
will finally give us some definite answers. If they
report 10 or 15 maybes it won't be anything that
we don't already know."
And Mark Harvey,
partner at Hugh James solicitors which has led the
group litigation action arising from the Gerona
crash, said, "It worries me to what extent
the Spanish authorities will produce a whitewash.
"It is our
view that there was pilot error but there must also
be criticism of the Spanish authorities as the runway
lights were extinguished before landing and the
passengers - the victims of a plane crash - were
left at the side of the runway for 40 minutes after
the crash. And no one knew they were there.
point of the report is to find out what happened
and identify safety recommendations to make sure
it doesn't happen again.
"If they produce
a bland report, exonerating everyone, who is to
say the same thing couldn't happen again tomorrow?"
One of the major
unanswered questions is why the pilot of flight
BY226A appeared not to react to a warning light
moments before the plane crashed.
An interim joint
report by the Spanish authorities and the UK Air
Accident Investigation Board recorded there was
a cockpit warning that the aircraft was coming in
at too steep a rate of descent.
The aircraft reportedly
struck the runway nose-wheel first. The wheel structure
then broke through the fuselage, damaging the hydraulics
and causing the Boeing 757 to veer off the runway
into a field.
"We want to
know why he didn't take sufficient steps to deal
with this and another warning before impact,"
Mr Harvey said.
take an expert to say that if the pilot is told
in the cockpit that something is wrong they should
do something to stop it happening."
It is hoped the
report will also quash the numerous rumours about
the cause of the crash which have been circulating
in the absence of official findings.
These include suggestions
that the pilot was advised to land elsewhere but
the plane was not carrying enough fuel.
And it could play
a key role in the cabin crew's fight for compensation
as they must first prove Britannia Airways was at
The passengers were
awarded compensation for their psychological injuries
after a judge last year ruled tour operator Thomson
Holidays was liable.
What the Spanish
investigation report says will be revealed to them
today at a private meeting in Cardiff, organised
by the UK Air Accident Investigation Board.
But the actual report
is not expected to be officially released until
later this month.
A spokeswoman for
Britannia Airways said although the company looked
forward to the publication of the report, she said
it would be "inappropriate" to comment