THE father of hero Knowle pilot Robert Mansell, who died saving his nine Dutch passengers lives, has condemned the airline he worked for.
Mr Mansell tragically lost his life as he carried out an emergency landing in the Caribbean Sea when one of his plane’s engines failed off the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles on October 22, 2009.
A report into the 32-year-old’s death has found the Divi Divi Air craft he was flying was overloaded by almost ten per cent.
The investigation, by the Dutch Safety Board, said Mr Mansell was responsible for the loading of the plane but accused the firm’s management of paying “insufficient supervision” to flight safety.
His father blasted the company who are based on the island of Curaçao, situated off the coast of Venezeula.
“The company put profit before lives and clearly, the only reason they overloaded was because, if they didn’t, they would have a lower payload and a lower net income,” he said.
“The report, in my view, hasn’t placed sufficient emphasis on this deliberate, dangerous and criminal activity by the company.
“Robert put the aircraft down in the water and that was quite a feat bearing in mind it was very heavy and he was struggling all the way down to stop it from dropping out of the sky like a stone. He did his very best.”
Legal action against the company is underway in Curaçao and an inquest into Mr Mansell’s death is expected to take place within the next six weeks.