Cockpit video shows Air Niugini pilots did not follow protocol before plane crash, screamed 'we're too low' when it was too late
As part of an ongoing investigation into the Air Niugini 737's crash into the Pacific Ocean in September, which left one passenger dead and nine others injured, the authorities have released the video from inside the cockpit, where the pilots are seen yelling "Too low! We're too low!" moments before the jet took a plunge into the water.
The footage released, contained a glideslope view, altimeter, simulated view, as well as the cockpit angle of the flight's final moments. "(The) co-pilot called rapidly with high intonation: 'Too low! We're too low! We're too low! We're too low!'' the transcript for the video read.
The plane, which was supposed to land at the airport of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, on Sept. 28, missed its destination by 1,500 feet due to the pilots' carelessness. After the crash, 34 passengers managed to scramble to safety from the Chuuk Lagoon off Weno island.
Report of the investigation found that evacuation of the aircraft was slowed down by occupants trying to retrieve their baggage.
The report also found that both the Papua New Guinean captain as well as the Australian co-pilot -- none of whom were identified by the authorities -- had the habit of ignoring warnings from the aircraft when they landed at the airport.
However, on the ill-fated day, there was a storm brewing near the airport, which meant that their visibility was considerably reduced and they could not see the runway properly. And yet, the pilots ignored several "pull up" warning lights and alarms that flashed and sounded respectively moments before the crash.
"The crew were [Sic] fixated on the task of landing the aircraft and did not notice the visual PULL UP caution alert at the bottom of their PFD [Primary Flight Display]," according to the report, Daily Mail reported.
"Therefore, they (the crew) did not take any positive action to arrest the high rate of descent and avoid landing in the lagoon. In fact, neither of the pilots were aware of the rapidly unfolding unsafe situation. The investigation found that the crew had received similar aural alerts on previous approaches in visual conditions where the aircraft was safely landed. This would have contributed to the perception that the alerts during the accident approach were nuisance alerts, and therefore disregarded them."
The pair of pilots continued their landing attempt at the Chuuk International Airport, despite being unable to see anything ahead of them.
"Both pilots were fixated on cues associated with control inputs for the landing approach, and subsequently were not situationally aware," Aeronautical Information Circular chief commissioner Hubert Namani said.