The incident where an American Airlines plane overshot the runway at Kingston , Jamaica causing injury to 91 people has been described by US aviation expert Michael Slack as ‘not just pilot error but pilot recklessness’.
The incident, on 22 December, took place when Flight 331 landed at Norman Manley International Airport in high winds. An investigation found that the pilot insisted on landing on runway 12 rather than runway 30 as directed by air traffic controllers.
The investigation also found that there were no mechanical problems with the aircraft, the flight data recorder did not indicate any malfunctions or anomalies with brakes, spoilers or thrust reversers and ground based navigation and landing aids were functioning normally according to a subsequent evaluation by a check aircraft.
Flight 331 touched down about 4,000 feet down the 8,900 foot runway before overshooting and coming to rest ten feet from the Caribbean sea.
The aircraft also had enough fuel to divert to an alternative airport, which was Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman.
Mr. Slack, a pilot based in Texas, told the Jamaica Gleaner that the pilot was at fault for landing the flight, which was largely full of Jamaican residents returning for the Christmas holidays.
‘He had an opportunity to do something safer and he passed on it… he was gambling with the lives of these people,’ he said.